Jaden Ivey stands out, but Detroit Pistons fall to Wizards, 119-117, on last-second tip-in

Detroit Free Press

On a night the Detroit Pistons were missing nearly half of their roster due to injuries, Jaden Ivey stepped up.

The rookie led Detroit with 26 points and 12 assists for his second-straight double-double, and put together one of his best fourth quarters yet. He scored or assisted 19 of the Pistons’ final 22 points, including a pair of free throws with 50.1 seconds left that gave them a late two-point lead over the Washington Wizards.

But the Wizards struck last. Bradley Beal, who led all scorers with 32 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, made a layup on the next possession to tie the game. On the Pistons’ ensuing possession, Flint native Kyle Kuzma blocked a layup attempt by Isaiah Livers, and Bradley Beal put up a floater for the Wizards; it missed, but Daniel Gafford beat the final buzzer by tipping it in for a 119-117 Pistons loss at Little Caesars Arena. It’s the ninth straight loss for the Pistons (15-51), who have 16 games left this season.

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The Pistons were without Killian Hayes (left hand contusion), Isaiah Stewart (right hip soreness), Jalen Duren (bilateral ankle soreness), Bojan Bogdanovic (bilateral achilles tendinopathy), Alec Burks (left foot soreness) and Hamidou Diallo (right ankle sprain), who the Pistons announced will miss three to four weeks after suffering his injury late in Monday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

James Wiseman scored 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting, and forward Eugene Omoruyi (15 points, six rebounds while playing on a 10-day contract), Marvin Bagley III (15 points), Cory Joseph (11 points, six assists) and R.J. Hampton (11 points) also scored in double figures.

It was a good night for Detroit’s offense. The Pistons shot 51.2% overall, 43.3% from 3 and dished out 29 assists, three short of tying their season high, against just 11 turnovers. It was a worse night for their defense, which allowed Washington to shoot 58% overall.

It was a back-and-forth game, with 14 lead changes and 12 ties.

Omoruyi seizes opportunity

With so many players on the injury report, the Pistons had to dig deep for contributions on Tuesday. Omoruyi, who signed a 10-day contract on Friday, was the biggest beneficiary from the glut of available minutes.

The 6-foot-7 Nigerian forward made an impact with his hustle and defense. Four of his six rebounds came on the offensive end, enabling him to get to the line and make four of five free throw attempts. He also knocked down a 3-pointer early in the second quarter and displayed great recognition with a nice dump-off pass to Bagley for a dunk that same quarter.

Omoruyi, who has spent most of this season in the G League with the Oklahoma City Blue, looked like he belonged on the floor. The Pistons have lacked toolsy forwards who can consistently make effort plays, and Diallo’s injury leaves them even more deficient. Omoruyi has a chance to further establish himself before his deal expires.

Hampton improving after slow start

After signing with the Pistons off of waivers on Feb. 23, Hampton had a rough start. He played around 34 minutes total through his first three games and made just one of seven shot attempts with an assist and turnover in each game. Sometimes, it takes time for players to find a comfort level.

Hampton is starting to look more comfortable. Tuesday was his third consecutive game scoring in double figures, with 33 points, six assists and five steals in those games. His biggest plays of the night were a pair of 3-pointers at the end of the third quarter, the second of which came at the final buzzer and cut the Pistons’ deficit to one, 89-88.

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