The Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak in a much-needed 130-122 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. It was a game of consistency from start to finish, which has been their Achilles Heel for the majority of this season.
Detroit led by as many as 14, but the Nets cut the deficit to five with one minute remaining. Killian Hayes then dished a one-handed bounce pass to Jalen Duren for an easy dunk, which created enough space for the Pistons to hold on for the victory.
Detroit improved to 13-37, while the Nets dropped to 29-19. The Pistons caught Brooklyn at a good time, as the Nets were on the second night of back-to-back after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
More:BOX SCORE: Pistons 130, Nets 122
Eight different Pistons players reached double figures in scoring, led by Saddiq Bey’s 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Alec Burks, who made his first start of the season, finished with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey moved the ball well once again and totaled 16 points, three rebounds and eight assists.
Nets guard Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 40 points. Only two other Brooklyn players scored in double-figures: Nicolas Clayton (27) and Edmond Sumner (24).
Here are some observations from the victory/loss:
New starting lineup, but not out of necessity: The Pistons have used 19 different starting lineups, mostly out of necessity due to injury. However, Pistons coach Dwane Casey experimented with another new lineup on Thursday despite having Isaiah Stewart and Isaiah Livers back from injury. He began with a group of Ivey, Burks, Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jalen Duren.
For the first time this season, Isaiah Stewart came off the bench. Killian Hayes, who missed his first game of the season on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks was back manning the second unit for the first time since Cade Cunningham was healthy. Stewart, Hamidou Diallo and Isaiah Livers were the first players off the bench, and the shakeup added a new dimension to the team.
The Pistons began with a new lineup, but closed the game with Hayes, Ivey, Bey, Bogdanovic and Duren, a more familiar lineup that remained poised to clinch the rare win.
Bey channels inner “Mamba”: Bey is playing his best basketball of the season and there was no clearer example than his 15-point third quarter on Thursday, which helped give the Pistons a sizable advantage going in the fourth quarter. Bey was consistent all night with his shooting and rebounding.
Bey knocked down 10-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-8 from the 3-point line. It appears as if Bey has prioritized the 3-point shot in recent weeks after an early desire to put the ball on the floor to score inside.
Thursday marked three years since the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others after a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020. The Lakers legend was Bey’s favorite player, and he capped his 25-point night with a fadeaway that was reminiscent of Bryant.
Bey entered the game averaging 21.8 points over his last five games. If he can remain consistent, the Pistons may have a better chance to steal a couple of more games against the NBA’s best.
Ivey’s quick start, consistent passing: Ivey had another impressive outing after tallying a double-double against the Bucks on Monday. He made his first four shots and scored the Pistons’ first 12 points, which set the tone for the remainder of the game. After compiling a career-high 11 assists against the Bucks on Monday, Ivey continued his efficient passing on Thursday. He had back-to-back nifty passes to fellow rookie Duren, which increased the budding chemistry between the two lottery picks. It’ll be interesting to see if Ivey receives more opportunity to lead the Pistons offense at the point. With how Detroit’s season is going, it wouldn’t hurt to let him continue if he continues to find his teammates.