It’s A Make or Miss League: Three Observations from the Pistons’ Sluggish Finish in Overtime Loss to the Cavaliers

Tony Snell (17) drives against Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (left) in tonight’s 115-112 overtime loss to Cleveland. (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports)

Ah, the rare back-to-back! Sekou Doumbouya’s first home start! John Beilein back in the state of Michigan! Coming off a win at Quicken Loans Arena, Detroit came in looking to sweep the home/away “series” with lowly Cleveland and get some momentum going. It was a back and forth contest, but the Pistons dropped a tough game in overtime to the visiting Cavaliers 115-112. Detroit was outscored by 11 in the second half including a difficult third quarter (a commonality for the Pistons) where they gave up 31 points. Here are three observations on the loss:

Point-Bruce Hive

We saw another instance where the experiment of Bruce Brown at point guard worked with excellent efficiency. The second-year guard had a tremendous line of 17 points, eight points, and four rebounds. He chipped in four steals and, most importantly, did not turn the ball over. Granted, every positive offensive game against the Cavs should be taken with a grain of salt the size of a glacier, it is still very positive to see Brown have not only a good game but a smart game.

Brown is still not the most effective offensive weapon, namely that he cannot create his own shot nor have a consistent 3-pointer. But playing perimeter defense and distributing the ball efficiently will go a long way in his placement in the rotation.

Andre the Giant

Andre Drummond once again had a behemoth of a game with 28 points and 23 rebounds. That means in the home-away series against the Cavs, Drummond poured in 51 points and grabbed 43 rebounds. Sheesh. Granted, Tristain Thompson did pour in a career-high 35 points and added 14 rebounds. So the defense was not always the best from Drummond.

Despite being in trade talks, Drummond is still putting his best foot forwrad. While he cannot control the sheme of where he gets dealt, Detroit should be pleasantly pleased with how his value is staying high.

Injuries are Part of the Game

Both teams were banged up in this contest. Cleveland was without Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Porter Jr., Dante Exum, and Dylan Windler. Detroit had Blake Griffin, Luke Kennard, Markeiff Morris, Reggie Jackson, and Khyri Thomas all on the sidelines. That is 60% of the Pistons starting lineup on opening night all out with injury.

Of course, this means the young kids get to play and get time on the court. Rookie Sekou Doumbouya only played 20 minutes against the Cavs (no massive poster dunk to be found) and scored eight points. Svi Mykhailiuk was largely uninvolved in his 29 minutes. The big winner was Bruce Brown, who showed that he could be an important piece of the backcourt. Christian Wood had a relatively quiet night with only 14 minutes. Thon Maker got 25 minutes, which is normally about 23 minutes too many. In looking at the minutes distribution from Dwane Casey, there are certainly some question marks. But, considering the injuries, things were not terribly off.

(Featured image by Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports)


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