Detroit Pistons stumble late, fall on road to Indiana Pacers, 116-111
The Indiana Pacers held the lead for most of the second half until a Saddiq Bey 3-pointer gave the Detroit Pistons a 96-94 lead in the middle of the fourth quarter.
But the Pistons caught up for most of the remainder of the quarter, and former Michigan standout basketball player Caris LeVert (28 points) iced the game 5.7 seconds ahead and a 3-pointer regression. 111 Loss of road. It was the second straight loss for the Pistons, who fell to 12-31 overall.
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Jerami Grant was fouled 2.3 seconds ahead when attempting a 3-pointer, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap. He missed the first free throw, five points behind the Pistons, and Domantas Sabonis hit two free throws at the other end.
Grant led all scorers with 29 points (10 on 20 total, 7 on 9 at the free throw line), six rebounds and two blocks. Saddiq Bey and Wayne Ellington scored 16 points each, and Mason Plumlee had a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Ellington excels in absence
The Pistons missed Ellington, who missed four games with proper adductor loading. Ellington returned Wednesday and did what he did best – space on the floor.
He hit his first three tries out of 3, shooting 6-for-7 overall and 4-for-5 from under. Detroit’s offense looked much better than it was on the floor. His ability to grab the attention of several defenders opened up opportunities for his teammates. He punished Indiana’s defense during a fourth quarter fast break by finding a cutting Tyler Cook for a one-handed alley-oop dunk.
Ellington provided the Pistons with the kind of outside shooting they sorely lacked in their loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday when they made four of their 25 outside attempts at a season low. It also helped that his teammates rose in this area. As a team, Detroit was 11:28 (39.3%) from the outside.
It could have been Ellington’s last game with the Pistons this season. The NBA trading deadline ends Thursday, and it is likely that he will be transferred to a minimum deal due to his status as a seasoned shooter. If Wednesday was his last game in Detroit, it was a fitting farewell. The front office brought him in with the expectation that he would be a positive role model for the young players on the squad. He did this while putting together one of the best seasons of his 12 year career.
The flasks continue to rate Cook
Cook, a 23-year-old former Iowa star, signed a 10-day deal with the Pistons last week. Dwane Casey’s goal is to find game time for Cook and give him the opportunity to audition. Wednesday was his third game for the Pistons and while he mostly played minutes on site she showed a little of what he could bring to a bigger role.
He was noisy on defense during Sunday’s game against the Bulls and Casey praised that aspect of his game afterwards. Many young players don’t take this for granted, and it’s noteworthy that Cook has been speaking to the team for less than a week.
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