Tuesday, September 27 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. — To understand Saddiq Bey‘s career 51-point night, you have to look back at a handful of games he played for the Detroit Pistons leading up to it.

Following a hot stretch that saw Bey score at least 20 points threshold in 11 of 18 games, Bey went cold. Entering Thursday’s match against the Orlando Magic, Bey was shooting just 32.1% in his previous five games, with 13 points or less in all five. After Tuesday’s loss in Miami, during which he made four of 12 shots and only one of nine 3-pointers, he had a conversation with himself.

“I came in saying, I gotta lock in and try to finish this season out strong,” Bey said. “Kinda had a reality check after the loss to Miami. I came to the hotel in Orlando saying I’ve got to refocus and try to finish out this road trip strong. That was my mentality coming in.”

Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) is doused by teammates Cade Cunningham, left, and Hamidou Diallo after scoring 51 points in the team's NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) is doused by teammates Cade Cunningham, left, and Hamidou Diallo after scoring 51 points in the team's NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) is doused by teammates Cade Cunningham, left, and Hamidou Diallo after scoring 51 points in the team’s NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

MR. MAYOR: Dave Bing clarifies comments on Pistons’ Cade Cunningham

THURSDAY’S GAME: Bey scores 51 to lead Pistons over Magic, 134-120

MARCH MADNESS: Five NBA draft prospects Pistons fans should follow during NCAA tournament

Bey’s mom, Drewana, played college basketball at Charlotte. She sent her son words of advice Thursday morning, telling him to be more aggressive. Bey doesn’t always get basketball texts from his mom, but her advice was timely.

The Pistons needed Bey to be aggressive against the Magic. The team’s two leading scorers, Jerami Grant and Cade Cunningham, were on the bench in street clothes due to right knee inflammation and a non-COVID illness, respectively. The Pistons had lost four straight. Someone had to step up. Bey didn’t enter the game with the mindset that he would turn into a flamethrower, but that’s what happened.

It was clear early on that Bey was going to have a special night. He had 21 points at the end of the first quarter, and 30 by halftime. He knocked down catch-and-shoot 3-pointers with his usual feathery touch, used his strong body to outmuscle defenders near the rim and showcased his improved handle to create open looks. The points kept coming. Whenever it seemed a cooling-off was coming, he hit another shot to remind everyone at the Amway Center that the night belonged to him.

His final totals: 51 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals on 17-for-27 shooting. He knocked down 10 3-point attempts, tying a franchise record set by Joe Dumars in 1994, on 14 attempts. His teammates gave him ovation after ovation during the game, doused him with water immediately after the game, and once again in the locker room. For the first time in a long time, the 19-51 Pistons had something to celebrate.

Fittingly, Bey is planning to give the game ball to his mother.

“She just texts me every once in a while to give me a reality check,” Bey said. “That’s what she does. That’s why I love her.”

Thursday was a culmination of a season of growth for Bey. The second-year forward has settled in as Detroit’s third offensive option; he’s showing there’s more to his offensive game than the 3-point shot.

Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) shoots in front of Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) shoots in front of Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) shoots in front of Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

After leading all rookies with 175 made 3-pointers last season, Bey’s versatility has stood out in his second season. He’s taking and making more shots inside of the arc. His handle is tighter, and his drives to the rim are more coordinated. Bey is also developing his court vision. He has 12 games this season with at least five assists, after just two last season.

The ball is in his hands more, and he’s showing he can make the right decision — not only for himself, but for his teammates. His vision stood out on Thursday, but more than anything, he proved that he can score in a variety of ways. His 10 3-pointers were noteworthy, but he also attempted 10 free throws — the third time this season he has cracked double digits in free throw attempts.

“Saddiq is somebody who works hard, and he’s just a gamer,” Isaiah Stewart said. “He’s a baller. A bucket. It ain’t no surprise to me.”

Bey’s performance was infectious, and the Pistons as a whole put together one of their better performances this season. They matched a season-high with 34 assists, shot 50% from the floor and knocked down 20 of 43 3-point attempts.

“It’s natural,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Guys just started pulling for him, bench was jumping up and down. It was beautiful to see that type of camaraderie that guys had pulling for each other. Cade over there sick, jumping up and down. It was great to see everybody pulling for Saddiq. Tough year in the rebuild, it’s always ugly. But there’s a lot of beautiful of things like tonight, the camaraderie, the momentum, the building, the experience the guys got this year. We didn’t get rewarded with wins, but beautiful moments like tonight, you can’t put a number on it.”

Bey’s big night put him solidly in the franchise’s historic archives: He became the seventh player in team history to crack 50 points, joining Jerry Stackhouse (57 on April 3, 2001), Kelly Tripucka (56 on Jan. 29, 1983), Dave Bing (54 on Feb. 21, 1971), George Yardley (52 on Feb. 4, 1958, and 51 on Jan. 15, 1958), Rip Hamilton (51 on Dec. 27, 2006) and Blake Griffin (50 on Oct. 23, 2018).

Mar 17, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) reacts after scoring 51 points against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY SportsMar 17, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) reacts after scoring 51 points against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 17, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) reacts after scoring 51 points against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Bey had 36 points entering the fourth quarter, which the Pistons led by double digits throughout. Rather than sit Bey, the coaching staff allowed him to play nearly eight extra minutes. He scored points 50 and 51 with eight seconds remaining, on a pair of free throws, part of his 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the final period.

It wasn’t Casey’s first time witnessing a young player on his roster scoring 50. Terrance Ross had 51 in 2014, while Casey was coaching the Toronto Raptors. Casey saw firsthand what such a night can do for a player’s confidence. Bey was rolling all night. Why not let him achieve something few players are able to?

“You see it coming, why not?” Casey said. “If we won tonight, lost tonight, at least we had a very productive night for a young man. That’s going to give him a jolt of confidence that you’re going to need going forward, whether it’s the rest of this year going into the summer, into next year, you can’t pay for those types of moments for a young guy. I remember, and I hate to keep using it, Ross when he had his 50 night. He came back a different person. The confidence just went out of the roof. You don’t ever want to stymie a guy, or stunt a guy, when he’s got it going like that. Win, lose or draw, that’s what this night was about.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Inside Saddiq Bey’s 51-point night for the Detroit Pistons: ‘He’s a baller’

Source: Yahoo Sports

Previous

Detroit Tigers game vs. Philadelphia Phillies: TV, time info for spring training opener

Next

Middlesbrough to donate Chelsea ticket money to Ukraine

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Ross Colton with a Goal vs. Washington Capitals

Sportico Rams Star Aaron Donald Tosses Swank L.A. Mansion Onto the Market Though Aaron Donald has hinted that this could be his last year suiting up in an NFL uniform, it looks like the Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle plans to remain with the Los Angeles Rams through the 2022 season and beyond. But as Dirt reports, […]

Read More

a Goalie Save from Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings

ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports Bucs meeting to discuss what Packers might have learned from Jumbotron video After the Buccaneers failed to score on a two-point conversion at the end of Sunday’s 14-12 loss to the Packers, Aaron Rodgers said he spotted something on the Jumbotron that he passed along to Green Bay coaches before […]

Read More

a Spectacular Goal from Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings

South Florida Sun Sentinel Heat’s Jimmy Butler shoots down playing power forward (and shows off new hairstyle); Herro downplays starting role, extension When it comes to Jimmy Butler potentially playing power forward this season, the Miami Heat’s leading man said Monday that his team had better start considering Plan B. With power forward P.J. Tucker […]

Read More