Pistons give the kids a shot as OT loss to Pelicans ends season’s first half
Chris Schwegler (NBAE/Getty)
Three quick observations from Monday night’s 117-110 overtime loss the New Orleans Pelicans at Little Caesars Arena
HALFTIME CHECKUP – The season hit the halfway point with Monday night’s overtime loss to New Orleans and it’s safe to say it wasn’t the way anyone affiliated with the Pistons envisioned the first half of the season to play out. The Pistons wound up with a 14-27 record, enduring a barrage of injuries to the top of their roster. Playing without starters Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard, the Pistons lost their third straight home game after a 2-4 road trip. It speaks to how the Pistons have adjusted their expectations for their season and their aims for what remains of it that the last of their remaining foundational pieces, Andre Drummond, played just 22 minutes and sat out the last 15-plus minutes of regulation plus overtime. As Dwane Casey has said often over the past few weeks, developing young players like Christian Wood – who finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals – has become a bigger organizational priority. With the game without four points midway through the fourth quarter, Casey rolled with a lineup that included Wood, Sekou Doumbouya and Svi Mykhailiuk. Doumbouya matched his previous high with 16 points and added eight rebounds in 35 minutes. Derrick Rose anchored the young lineup, scoring 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Pistons came back from 16 down early in the quarter to force overtime. Rose, who played a season-high 36 minutes in last week’s overtime loss to Cleveland, played 37 minutes.
YOUTH MOVEMENT – With a push from the wave of injuries that undermined the season’s first half, the Pistons continued injecting a little more youth in their lineup by throwing rookie Jordan Bone into the mix for the first time in the first half. Bone came into the game late in the first quarter and played the next eight minutes – or two more than he’d amassed prior to that over three NBA appearances. He missed his only two shots of the first half but did pick up his first three career assists without committing a turnover. Bone played alongside Derrick Rose and thus played off of the ball. Bone didn’t play in the second half. Casey has said he hoped to get Bone some experience and it’s likely his plan was to give him time in the first half but keep it open-ended for the second half depending on game situation.
KENNARD STATUS – Luke Kennard missed his 11th straight game and his 13th overall with tendinitis in both knees and it doesn’t appear he’s coming back for another month or so. Asked about Kennard before Monday’s game, Dwane Casey said, “They said somewhere around All-Star break. I’m not sure. We’ve had so many injuries. I get this guy’s injuries mixed up with that guy’s injuries.” The Pistons have 16 more games between now and the All-Star break, which starts after a Feb. 12 game at Orlando. The Pistons played without Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and Khyri Thomas in addition to Kennard and somehow they were the more fortunate team in Monday’s matchup. New Orleans was without Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, Brandon Ingram, J.J Redick, Kenrich Williams, Darius Miller and, of course, No. 1 pick Zion Williamson, who has yet to make his debut. There is speculation that Williamson, who underwent knee surgery after a preseason injury, will debut on Thursday when New Orleans hosts Utah.