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Cunningham Lights it up from Downtown; Pistons Get First Summer League Win

Cade Cunningham was electric from outside for the Detroit Pistons as they survive a late push from the New York Knicks to earn their first win in Summer League play, 93-87.

Nearly down for the count, the Knicks went on a 15-2 run in the waning minutes of the game. A clutch Saddiq Bey block, however, sealed the win for the Pistons.

Cunningham finished with 24 points, shooting 7-of-10 from downtown. He also came away with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. Jamorko Pickett was also big for the Pistons, finishing with 18 points, 13 of them coming in the first quarter.

Obi Toppin was incredible for the Knicks, scoring a game-high 31 points. Toppin was 13-of-20 from the field and 2-of-5 from three. 

Cade Brigade

Cunningham started the game slowly. He had 8 points at halftime and had attempted just 5 shots. Quinten Grimes was playing great defense on the No. 1 pick, forcing the ball out of his hands and playing hard-nosed ball denial.

In the second half, however, he came out guns-a-blazing. His first two attempts after halftime were threes, he knocked down both of them.

He fueled a plus-11 third quarter and was netting shots from all around the arc. He nearly out-shot the Knicks team, who made 9, from outside.

As an overall team, the Pistons shot the lights out. They connected on exactly 50 percent of their threes, going 18-of-36 from downtown. Five Pistons made multiple 3-pointers in the game, only 5 Knicks made a three at all. 

Alongside Cunningham, Pickett was a perfect 4-of-4 from downtown. Killian Hayes went 2-of-5 including a mean cross-over three that left his defender needing a road map. Saddiq Bey chipped in with 3 threes and Saben Lee went 2-of-5 off the bench.

Motor City Defense

In the first half, it was the Knicks’ defense that kept them in the game. They forced 10 Piston turnovers before halftime and held them to just 36 points. The issue, however, was the Pistons’ defense had been just as good, holding the Knicks to 31 first-half points. 

By the end of the game, the Pistons’ defense had forced the Knicks to shoot just 36 percent from the field and 28 from three. They also shot 67 percent from the charity stripe, which didn’t help.

Though they forced only 6 turnovers, 10 team blocks, including 1 each from Bey and Cunningham in the final minute of the game, were huge for the Pistons. 

Knicks Keep it Close

With 2:40 left in the game, Hayes dimed up Cunningham for a three, his seventh and final of the game, effectively the dagger. The next time down, Hayes found Bey for a three, seemingly closing the door for good.

The Knicks, however, had other plans. A monster 15-2 run and a collapse from the Pistons offense nearly gave them a miraculous come-from-behind win.

The Pistons committed 4 turnovers and were blocked on two different shot attempts in under 90 seconds. Immanuel Quickley scored or assisted on 7 of those 15 points and Toppin caught and dunked two beautiful lob passes.

Against all odds, the Knicks were down just 3 with 29 seconds left. All it took was an untimely foul and a clutch defensive play from Bey to give the game back to the Pistons.

Up Next

Both the Pistons and the Knicks play another game tomorrow, on Saturday. At 8:00 pm the Knicks face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers and at 10:00 pm the Pistons will play the Los Angeles Lakers.

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