The Detroit Pistons entered the contest against the number one seed from the Western Conference with a league-worst 5-40 record. On Sunday, January 28th, with a strong performance from Jalen Duren, the Detroit Pistons beat the 32-14 Oklahoma City Thunder 120 to 104 to secure the team’s sixth win.
#1 Seed Falls to Cade-less Pistons
The Pistons ended the Oklahoma City Thunder’s five-game winning streak without their team’s leader, Cade Cunningham, who was a late scratch due to management of a knee injury. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did all he could to keep the Oklahoma City Thunder in the game. Shai, recently named an All-star Starter, ended the game with 31 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Jalen Williams had the second most points for Oklahoma City Thunder with 20 points and Chet Holmgren had nine points, 12 rebounds, and a block. Shai scored seven straight points for Thunder to get the team within four points with 3:37 left in the third. The Detroit Pistons went on a run in the last 3 minutes of the third behind Jaden Ivey, who had a fantastic game with Cade Cunningham out. Ivey hit a mid-range jumper, then a corner three, and assisted on a three to Monte Morris to close out the third. Ausar Thompson added to the Pistons ten to nothing run to close out the third with two free throws. The Pistons would go on to outscore the Thunder 30-18 the rest of the game after Shai brought the game to 86-90 with three minutes left in the third.
Sophomore Studs Duren & Ivey
The absence of Cunningham left a large gap to be filled in the lineup, in which the Pistons sophomores and rookies stepped up. This season, Cade Cunningham is averaging a team-high 22.8 points per game and has been the team’s best playmaker, averaging 7.4 assists per game while also contributing four rebounds and a steal per game. Jaden Ivey, the 5th overall pick in the 2022 draft, did a great job stepping up for Cunningham, putting up 19 points, eight rebounds, and a team-high six assists. Jalen Duren, the 13th overall pick in the 2022 draft, had a monster game. The second-year center for the Detroit Pistons had his first-ever career 20/20 game. Duren had a team-high 22 points while also matching Ivey with six assists. Duren’s impressive performance battling in the paint led to a career-high nine offensive rebounds while on his way to securing 21 boards in the game. Rookies Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser both helped the Pistons in different ways to get the win. Sasser contributed 12 points and four assists while shooting over 55% from the field and over 65% beyond the arc. Ausar Thomson had his typical game, scoring nine points, grabbing four rebounds, and one assist while adding a block and a steal on the defensive end. Jalen Duren answered questions post game about his career day.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) January 28, 2024
The Oklahoma City Thunder will host Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night, January 29th, in a clash for the number one seed in the Western Conference. The Detroit Pistons’ next game is at Cleveland, where Jalen Duren will look to build on his big game in a matchup against Jarrett Allen on Wednesday, January 31st.