Observations: Winless Pistons grapple with frigid shooting, loss of Griffin and Hayes
Detroit — The Pistons lost their fourth straight game, 116-106, to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. Beyond the skid to start the season, they lost two starters to injury and struggled in shooting the ball, hitting only 38% from the field, though they improved to 37% (13-of-35) on 3-pointers.
They switched the starting lineup and gave some of their young players more playing time. It’s part of the process that coach Dwane Casey wants to use to develop the young players, but he cautions that it’ll come slowly.
Here are some takeaways from Tuesday’s game:
►Down two starters: After Blake Griffin was put in concussion protocol and Killian Hayes had a right ankle sprain, the Pistons had to finish the second half without two of their starters. They were able to plug those spots with minutes from the bench, but moving forward, it could alter the trajectory of things. Casey said that Hayes is day-to-day and that he tried to test his ankle and see if he could play on it, but he wasn’t able. In the concussion protocol, Griffin possibly could miss a couple of days, but given that the Pistons’ next game isn’t until Friday, he could be cleared for one of the weekend games against the Celtics.
►Jackson the starter: For the second straight game, Josh Jackson was in the starting lineup, and his production still was good. He finished with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists, but what he’s showing most is that he can get to the rim and finish with his athleticism. He’s been a find in free agency, and he fits exactly what the Pistons are trying to do, with developing young players who have something to prove. Although he had been shooting 35% on 3-pointers, he was 0-of-5 on Tuesday. Still, getting to the rim and getting opportunities for old-school three-point plays is just as good if he doesn’t have the same touch from beyond the arc.
►Rotation questions: Casey has said the rotation will fluctuate and that some players will go from playing big minutes one night to maybe not playing at all in the next game. Svi Mykhailiuk didn’t play at all in the first half and logged six points in 12 minutes in the second half, making both of his 3-point attempts. Wayne Ellington, who had 11 points Monday, didn’t play Tuesday. It’s an up-and-down movement in minutes, but it’s something that the reserves will have to get used to. With the injuries to Griffin and Hayes, there could be more minutes to go around, but when the Pistons are at full strength, this is something to watch in how those minutes get distributed.
►A good Stewart: Isaiah Stewart continues to impress in his minutes on the floor. He brought energy during the time he was on the court, with 23 minutes and posting six points and seven rebounds (including four offensive) and getting to loose balls on both ends of the court. Stewart was a good rim protector as well, altering some shots and getting his hands on the ball for other opportunities. With Jahlil Okafor out because of an ankle sprain, the playing time is Stewart’s to have, and he even finished out the minutes in crunch time when Mason Plumlee got tired at the end.
“He was great for us and kept us in the game, getting a lot of offensive rebounds and fighting them on the glass,” Grant said.
►Rose returns: After struggling against the Cavaliers on Saturday, Rose struggled again in the first half, but had a nice bounce-back in the second half. He finished with 15 points and seven assists but had a string of eight points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. He still doesn’t seem to be at his full level of play, but he’s showing flashes of being able to break out of the shooting slump he’s in.