The Detroit Pistons shook off their offensive doldrums on Saturday. A stretch of home games gives them hope they can overcome their slow start.
Detroit posted just its third win of the season at Toronto, a 127-121 triumph in which it found an offensive flow that had been lacking in its first 11 games. The Pistons begin a five-game homestand against slumping Sacramento on Monday.
The Pistons were shooting below 40 percent until it crossed the border. They made 54.4 percent of their shots and seven players reached double figures.
They had bottomed out in Cleveland on Friday, scoring just 78 points while shooting 36.7 percent from the field and committing 23 turnovers.
Coach Dwane Casey called the Pistons’ bounce back performance “a thing of beauty.”
“I told them in there after the game (that) win, lose or draw, this game (Saturday) put a stake in the ground for who we can be and how we can play,” Casey said.
Jerami Grant led the way with 24 points and Isaiah Stewart missed just two field goal attempts while scoring 20 points. Stewart’s performance was encouraging since the Pistons will rely heavily on the second-year center with Kelly Olynyk sidelined at least six weeks due to a knee injury.
Killian Hayes, the Pistons’ second-year point guard, delivered the best performance of his young career. Hayes supplied 13 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. He reached double figures in scoring for just the third time this season. The assist total was one shy of his career best.
Now Hayes and his teammates must prove they can play like that on a regular basis.
“It shows great character in our team the way we bounced back (Saturday). But we’ve got to limit those games where we have a great game and then the next game we do something like in Cleveland,” Hayes said. “Next game, we’ve got to really dig in and do something like we did (Saturday) and stay consistent.”
The Kings head to Detroit on a four-game losing streak. They lost at home to Indiana and Phoenix, then began a four-game road trip by falling to San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
Sacramento squandered an 18-point second-half lead against the Thunder on Friday.
Coach Luke Walton vows that the team is determined to turn things around quickly.
“We’re together. We’re a group that’s worked too hard. We’re 13 games into a season and, yeah, it’s a tough patch right now, but we’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We’re sticking together. We’ll get through it together.”
Outside of a stinker in San Antonio in which the Spurs shot 53.3 percent and racked up 136 points, the Kings haven’t lost by more than five points during the current “tough patch.”
At Oklahoma City, the Kings scored 39 second-quarter points, then just 41 points the remainder of the game.
“I’m at a loss for words,” forward Harrison Barnes said. “I think in general if we’re going to preach consistency, we have to live up to that, and right now there’s too many areas in our game where we’re not doing that.”