Dennis Smith's surge can't lift Pistons past Kings in 110-107 defeat

Rod Beard, The Detroit News
·2 min read

Feb. 27—DETROIT — Dennis Smith Jr. made his mark on the game — and it wasn't just with his highlight-reel dunk.

Smith scored seven straight Pistons points late in the third quarter and had a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter to regain the lead.

That provided a lift for the Pistons, but they couldn't hold on in the final minutes, as the Kings escaped with a 110-107 victory on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena, ending their nine-game losing streak.

Smith finished with a season-high 17 points and six assists, Jerami Grant had 30 points and seven rebounds and Saddiq Bey 17 points for the Pistons (9-24), who lost for the fifth time in the last six games.

Smith's 3-pointer at the 5:45 mark made it a 94-91 Pistons lead, ending a 10-2 Kings run, which had five points by De'Aaron Fox (27 points, five rebounds and six assists). The Pistons got a pair of free throws from Grant on the next possession and stayed ahead, but Buddy Hield hit a jumper and Harrison Barnes (21 points) added two free throws, to take a 97-96 lead.

Mason Plumlee (six points, nine rebounds and six assists) scored on a dunk and after Barnes missed two free throws, Bey hit his fifth 3-pointer, for a 101-97 lead with 2:48 left.

The Kings (13-20), who had lost nine straight games, weren't out of it. Richaun Holmes (19 points and 17 rebounds) scored on a dunk and made two free throws on the next trip and Barnes added a dunk, to regain the lead, 103-101.

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Grant, who went 14-of-15 on free throws, had his only miss of the game, splitting a pair with 1:00 left. On the ensuing possession, Barnes hit a 3-pointer and pushed the lead to four.

Josh Jackson (14 points) drove for a dunk and on the Kings' next possession, Hield jumped over Jackson for an apparent basket and foul. The Pistons challenged the call, asserting that Hield fouled Jackson. After a video review, the call was overturned and Jackson had two free throws.

He missed both — the second intentionally — and the Pistons were down two with 12.9 seconds left. The Pistons had several chances to tie, but they ended up trading free throws in the final seconds.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard