Rookie swingman Luke Kennard scored a career-high 23 points, and the Detroit Pistons blew out the Chicago Bulls 119-87 in the season finale for both teams on Wednesday night.
Eric Moreland also had a big night, posting career highs with 16 points and 17 rebounds along with four assists, four steals and four blocks. Anthony Tolliver had 18 points, Henry Ellenson had 14 points with 10 rebounds and Ish Smith tossed in 13 points for Detroit.
“Ups and downs but I was able to fight through it mentally and physically,” Kennard said of his rookie campaign. “There’s a lot of good things that I can take out of this and that I’m proud of. Overall, a successful rookie year, but I’ve got to learn and got to get better.”
Lauri Markkanen had 20 points and eight rebounds and Sean Kilpatrick scored 14 points for Chicago. David Nwaba added 13 points and Bobby Portis chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Pistons finished their disappointing campaign at 39-43. The rebuilding Bulls wound up 27-55.
Both teams were missing numerous starters and rotation players. Detroit’s frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond got the night off, as did shooting guard Reggie Bullock. Chicago’s backcourt of Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine and rotation players Denzel Valentine and Noah Vonleh did not dress.
Tolliver scored 16 first-quarter points, including 13 of Detroit’s first 15, as the Pistons grabbed a 35-21 lead. A Smith basket with 7:57 remaining gave Detroit its biggest lead of the half at 46-27.
The Bulls never got closer than 13 points the remainder of the quarter and trailed 66-50 at the break.
Markkanen scored eight points during a 10-0 Chicago spurt early in the third that cut the Pistons’ lead to 71-63. Detroit came right back with a 17-4 run to make it 88-67. Kennard scored six points during that span and Smith contributed three baskets.
The Pistons steadily built their lead to 30, 112-82, on a Kennard dunk.
Detroit won the season series 3-1.
—Field Level Media