The Detroit Pistons received some bad news before Saturday’s game against the Boston Celtics — Cade Cunningham will miss their next three games with left shin soreness. He was in street clothes on the bench Saturday, and could return on Nov. 20.
The Celtics were also shorthanded, as Jaylen Brown sat out with a left knee contusion and Malcolm Brogdon, Al Horford also missed the game. It didn’t matter for the defending Eastern Conference champions, as a 43-point, 10-rebound performance from Jayson Tatum was enough to beat the Pistons, 117-108, at Little Caesars Arena.
The Pistons are now 3-11 overall, and have lost three straight.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 28 points, and rookie Jaden Ivey had a career-high 26 points. Killian Hayes, who started in place of Cunningham, had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds while knocking down 3 of 6 3-pointers. Marvin Bagley III also made his regular season debut after spraining his MCL on Oct. 11, and finished with four points, four rebounds and two blocks.
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Ivey’s outside shot powers strong night
Since Day 1, Ivey’s elite downhill speed has made him an asset on offense and given defenses problems. But he’s been a below-average shooter thus far, entering Saturday shooting 31.4% from 3. Opposing teams prefer him to shoot rather than get to the rim.
It didn’t work on Saturday. Ivey made a career-best four 3-pointer on five attempts, helping him have the best scoring night of his career thus far. They weren’t all standstill 3-pointers, either. He hit a stepback 3-pointer midway through the first quarter, and another one at the beginning of the third quarter.
Ivey’s outside shot hasn’t been consistent, but Saturday showed why the Pistons want him taking them. He’s a more dangerous player when defenses can’t play off of him behind the line. He’ll continue to be a focal point of Detroit’s offense as they await Cunningham’s return.
Bagley makes regular season debut
With Alec Burks out on the second night of a back-to-back, Dwane Casey played reserves Bagley, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Livers, Hamidou Diallo and Cory Joseph together for extended stretches. That lineup has trouble effectively spacing the floor, as Livers and Joseph are the only above-average shooters. But the second unit delivered mixed results.
Bagley had a quiet night, but his presence was felt. He recorded a pair of blocks toward the end of the third quarter, and he enabled the Pistons to have a significant size advantage over the Celtics, who were without Horford (lower back stiffness) and Robert Williams III (left knee surgery). It was a key reason why Detroit won the rebounding battle by an 50-42 margin.
He made his debut with 3:51 to play in the opening period, and scored his first bucket midway through the 2nd in transition after a bad pass from Marcus Smart led to an outlet pass from Duren.
Bagley played significant minutes alongside Duren, and his return should enable Casey to use two-big man lineups much more frequently. Casey didn’t play Stewart alongside Bagley or Duren, but we’ll likely see more of Stewart and Duren together as the season progresses.