The Pistons continued their western road trip against one of the league’s best in the Denver Nuggets. The result? About what you’d expect from a lottery team taking on a contender on the road. Despite the loss, the Pistons kept it competitive behind the play of the usual suspects: Derrick Rose, Christian Wood, and… Brandon Knight?
First Observation: Denver Works the Paint
Almost like you need a rim protector to have a successful defense, who knew? Detroit has unsurprisingly struggled defending inside since the Andre Drummond trade, and today was no different. Orchestrated by the masterful playmaking from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Denver was able to cut inside for an easy score more often than not. In a game where Denver only attempted 19 three-pointers, it’s easy to see where the majority of their points came from.
Second Observation: Detroit’s New Faces on the Court
In what has turned into a lost season for Detroit, this late-February game is still somehow notable. Derrick Walton Jr, Donta Hall, and Khyri Thomas all played their first minutes with the Pistons, with the latter two getting their first court time of the season, period.
Hall and Thomas both contributed in their 14 minutes, with Hall posting four points and three rebounds, while Thomas knocked down a three towards the end of the game.
Third Observation: Vets Show Out
Derrick Rose has been a catalyst for the Pistons offense all season, and tonight was no different. D-Rose finished the content with 20 points and five assists. But it wasn’t just Rose who put on an offensive show for Detroit, as Langston Galloway, Tony Snell, and the recently-acquired Brandon Knight all put on a display in the loss.
While any player performing well for Detroit should be looked at as a positive, it remains frustrating that Dwane Casey continues to heavily rely on veterans that aren’t a part of the team’s future. The 12-man rotation used tonight was still a step in the right direction, however.