Sun, 29 May 2022

Pistons hope to have Kelly Olynyk back at Sacramento

Field Level Media
19 Jan 2022, 17:19 GMT+10

The Detroit Pistons hope to have Kelly Olynyk back in the lineup as they search for reinforcements Wednesday night when they play the second game of a Northern California back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings.

Going without Jerami Grant and Olynyk, their leading and fourth-leading scorers, the Pistons were swamped 102-86 by the Golden State Warriors at San Francisco in the opener of a four-game Western swing Tuesday night.

Grant stayed home from the trip as he rehabilitates ligament damage in his right thumb, but Olynyk practiced Monday before sitting out a 33rd straight game as he gets closer to returning from a sprained left knee.

Pistons coach Dwane Casey not only left the door open for Olynyk to face the Kings on Wednesday, but he also envisioned how he might use the veteran big man as a tag-team with and alongside Trey Lyles.

"Those two will be interchangeable," Casey said. "We need all the help we can get offensively. Having those two on the floor at the same time gives us that flexibility and versatility."

Lyles amassed 13 points and five rebounds in the loss Tuesday. He and Olynyk played together in the first 10 games of the season before Olynyk's injury, combining for 20.5 points and 9.8 rebounds a night.

Olynyk was out of the lineup and Lyles had just three points when the Pistons were shellacked 129-107 at home by the Kings in November. Saddiq Bey (28 points) and Cade Cunningham (25) did almost half Detroit's scoring in that one.

Buddy Hield led six Kings in double figures that night, scoring 22 points and connecting on 6 of 10 3-point attempts.

Hield shot 9-for-19 from long range during a three-day, two-game sequence in Sacramento against the Houston Rockets. The teams split the Friday and Sunday contests.

The Kings, who fired coach Luke Walton earlier this season, have been involved in nonstop trade rumors as next month's deadline approaches. Some have linked them to the Pistons' Grant.

De'Aaron Fox, the player many believe is most likely to be dealt if the Kings go after a high-profile target such as Grant or Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, admitted this week he has heard the rumblings. Even so, he seems content to stay in Sacramento.

"In most sports, most players come up in trade talks," he said. "Obviously, you don't have too many people who are really untouchable. So, you always know something could happen, for sure.

"I want to win. I want to be part of a winning team. We're continuing to build and work toward that."

Sacramento has won two of its past three games, including a 125-116 home triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers last week. Fox scored 29 points in that game.

The mini-surge was enough to keep the Kings, who have not made the playoffs since 2006, within arm's length of a spot in the NBA's play-in tournament with almost half the season to play.

The Pistons have no such dreams in the East. The loss at Golden State was their 33rd of the season, the second most in the NBA behind the Orlando Magic's 37.

--Field Level Media

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