1st Make: Pistons having a strong start in the first half
The Pistons seemed competitive in the first half and even when down for most of that half, they didn’t seem out of the game completely. Drummond was aggressive from the tip-off, scoring a quick 6 points to start the game off and help his team get into a rhythm. Markieff Morris made his presence felt by slashing to the basket for dunks, or draining threes—he went into halftime with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Derrick Rose was his old reliable self that the Pistons are starting to get accustomed to—he entered halftime with 14 points and 4 assists (finishing the game with 10 assist total). The team collectively was swinging the ball and playing unselfishly. Guys were cutting to the basketball for dunks and layups—while others ran in between screens to shake defenders to get open looks at the basket.
That’s what makes this loss so demoralizing because the team seemed poised to make a heroic comeback going into halftime, but couldn’t muster the same effort they entered halftime with. Hopefully, their first-half performance can carry over into the second half of their next game on Friday in Chicago.
1st Miss: No Kennard Sighting Tonight
Luke Kennard could not find the rhythm in tonight’s game. He only scored once on 5 field attempts by the end of the first half. He looked unable to find his groove and make his presence felt for most of the game. Even though he did end the game with 7 assists, it was too little, too late for his distribution of the ball to make an impact on the game and swing the tide in Detroit’s favor. As much as we love to see Kennard out there dishing out the rock, the Pistons would much rather have him swishing some three-pointers, as he went 1 of 4 from three in 27 minutes of play. With Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson both out with injuries, the Pistons need Kennard to be effective shooting the ball—especially from three, to help provide spacing on the floor for his teammates to have easier cuts and looks at the basket.
2nd Make: There Was a Svi Mykhailiuk Sight Instead
With the Pistons all but destined to win tonight’s game against, and down by 21 points with 8:34 remaining in the fourth quarter, Svi Mykhailiuk checked into the game. Even with all 8 of his minutes coming in a garbage-time period of the game, he made the most of his limited opportunity. He came into the game, hot from the word go, making 3 of his first three-point attempts. Finishing the game with 9 points, on 3 of 4 shooting. On a night where it seemed the Pistons couldn’t buy a basket and needing some added offense to remain close in the game—seeing Svi come into the game hot and ready to go, was one of the few bright spots from this disappointing performance by the team. Hopefully, he was able to show something to the coaching staff in his short time on the court to garnish some more playing time in future games.
2nd Miss: Raptors Hot Shooting Across the Board
The Pistons could not seem to stop the offensive onslaught that the Raptors were laying on them tonight. They were scorching the net with their hot shooting from all aspects of scoring. They scored high in all three scoring columns, ending the game with a split of 59.3/48.1/73.9. It didn’t matter which player for Toronto was shooting—all their jumpers seemed automatic. Detroit’s defense put up a failed attempt throughout the game in trying to put the clamps on the Raptors defensively. Turnovers killed any built-up momentum the Pistons tried to generate. Even with both teams having 30 assists apiece, the Pistons allowance for multiple turnovers led to 23 fastbreak points, thus allowing the Raptors to gain bigger leads and pull away from Detroit and take command of this game.
3rd Make: Derrick Rose once again played the role of hero in the loss
Yet another game where Derrick Rose made his presence felt in the 21 minutes he was given tonight. In those 21 minutes, he finished with 16 points, on 7-12 shooting from the field and 10 assists.
At this point, the Pistons are starting to become used to their backup point guard coming into the game and efficiently impose his will on the court and help provide a boost of offense and energy for his team.
The only thing that is a bit worrisome, is how long can this level of play from Rose continue? He isn’t the spring chicken that he was back in the day in Chicago for the Bulls—a lengthy medical report on Rose shows that his body is subject to break down if given too much of an offensive workload (hence the reason Dwane Casey has him on minute restrictions). His play is inspiring and admirable, but some of Rose’s teammates are going to have to help him out with the responsibility of generating offense. Rose can only be our savior but some many times this season.
Even Superman has to take a break from saving Metropolis, every now and again.
3rd Miss: Pascal Siakam looked like the real King of the North
Just like his All-Star teammate Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam seemed like he was trying to make his case for an All-Star bid for this season. At various times throughout the game, he looked as if he couldn’t miss. Whether in the post, at the top of the key, on the three-point line, it all seemed to swish for Siakam. He finished tonight’s game with a scoring split of 30/5/5. He didn’t seem to care for who was in his face trying to slow him down, Siakam appeared confident and focused on making his presence felt. Piston’s very own color commentator Greg Kelser even said during the game that “he’s playing like Kawhi Leonard”—that right there should show you that he was in the zone tonight. That’s not good news if you’re the Pistons because they will play the Raptors 3 more times this season, so they are going to have to find a way to contain this more offensively assertive Siakam.
With Kawhi Leonard no longer in Toronto, Siakam seems determined to show why he should be anointed the new King of the North, and he looked more than ready to take the throne on Wednesday.
Featured Image: Frank Gunn/Associated Press