Int he NBA, you’re not as bad, or good, as you looked the previous night.
Every team wins in this league. Some (a lot) more than others but, over an 82-game season, you’re going to see good teams beat up on bad teams, and then bad teams surprise some good ones and beat ‘em.
Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week, the Detroit Pistons looked like a new team against Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
They played defense. They tweaked the starting lineup. And, surprisingly, they won, beating the Nets 130-122 behind 25 points from Saddiq Bey at Barclays Center.
From the opening tip, the Pistons looked engaged and ready to go — a big change from their last time out. Give Jaden Ivey credit: he was the catalyst.
Starting alongside Alec Burks for the first time this season, Ivey looked very comfortable as the lead ball handler with the starters. The rookie scored the first 12 points for Detroit, getting to the rim for layups, hitting mid-range jumpers and knocking down a three.
He went blow for blow with Irving early as the Pistons’ new starters — Ivey, Burks, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jalen Duren — basically played the Nets even early.
Obviously, the Nets were without Kevin Durant, as well as Seth Curry and Ben Simmons in the second half due to injury, but this team tonight just… wasn’t that impressive. Kyrie’s scoring is obviously great, but even 40 tonight wasn’t enough.
Nic Claxton, a defensive player of the year candidate, slithered his way to dunk after dunk after dunk en route to 27 points and 14 rebounds and Edmund Sumner scored 24 points off the bench, but the Pistons did a decent job defensively on the others.
That’s saying a lot after giving up 150 points to the Bucks earlier this week.
It’s hard to pick one Piston who really stood out tonight because they all played pretty damn well. Saddiq Bey found his jumper, hitting 5 triples and 10 of his 19 shots, while Ivey finished with 16 points and 7 assists after his hot start.
He kind of get squeezed out of some opportunities because all of the guards played well.
Burks scored 20 in his first start, which isn’t surprising considering he’s a walking bucket off the bench or as a starter. He hit a few biggg shots in the third quarter to push the Pistons’ lead to double-digits and, really, you can’t go wrong playing him off the bench or starting.
Duren had 17 points and 7 boards against the aforementioned Claxton, continuing to look like the best rookie center in the NBA in his nightly “battle” with Walker Kessler of the Utah Jazz.
And even with the lineup change, the bench played well. Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart looked at home off the bench — though I’m still not sure why they came off it — scoring 16 and 11 points, respectively.
Killian, in particular, had a huge pass late to Jalen Duren that put the Pistons up 127-120 late:
Hamidou Diallo also looked at home in his hometown as he did a little bit of everything with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. It was the epitome of Good Hami.
Diallo is a polarizing player. He’s trick or treat, really good or just an absolute mess. But in recent weeks he’s found the right role and given this team a big boost. It’s fun to watch him when he’s playing well.
This was a fun game, though. Sure, the Pistons won leading up to their tank-off against the Rockets at LCA on Saturday, but this was a good response after the debacle in Milwaukee.
Let us know what you thought / liked about tonight in the comments!