NBA wrap: Pistons starting to look like Eastern Conference contenders

Avery Bradley led the Detroit Pistons to a 108-99 win over the Sacramento Kings, while the Pelicans and Warriors enjoyed comfortable wins.

Pistons' Avery Bradley was the team's star performer as he scored 24 points in Saturday's 108-99 win over the Kings.   -  AP

The Pistons' acquisition of shooting guard Avery Bradley didn't spark the same buzz as some of the league's other blockbuster moves this off-season, but it was the type of trade that instantly made a team better.

Detroit sent inconsistent Marcus Morris to the Celtics for Bradley, a dependable shooter and perimeter defender. Bradley's influence on the Pistons was immense and immediate.

Bradley scored 24 points Saturday in a 108-99 win over the Kings. He went 10 of 15 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and three assists. Last season, Detroit lacked perimeter scoring. Bradley has already made sure that won't be the case this year.

"I've said this several times, but he has really changed the defensive demeanor of our team," Van Gundy told the Associated Press. "He doesn't deserve all of the credit -- moving Stanley (Johnson) into the starting lineup has also helped -- but we're playing much better defense with Avery on the floor."

READ: LeBron James records 11th career 50-point game in win over Wizards

Andre Drummond has also stepped up his game. The 2016 All-Star struggled offensively and defensively last season, but he recorded his seventh double-double of the year Saturday by scoring 16 points with 19 rebounds. He has also made 16 of his last 20 free-throw attempts.

The Eastern Conference is shaping up to be an entertaining race, and the Pistons is squarely in the mix after an off-season of improvement.


Pelicans duo Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins recorded double-doubles in a 96-90 overtime win over the Bulls. Davis scored 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting with 16 rebounds. Cousins scored 25 points with 11 rebounds and four assists. 

Stephen Curry added his own double-double, scoring 22 points with 11 assists, while leading the Warriors to a 127-108 victory over the Nuggets. Kevin Durant led Golden State in scoring with 25 points.


Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews scored just five points on 2-of-10 shooting in 26 minutes of action Saturday while falling 112-99 against the Timberwolves. Matthews also only managed three assists, while Dallas fell to 1-10 this season.


Blake Griffin's still got it:



Celtics (7-2) at Magic (6-3) Boston has won seven straight games after shaking off Gordon Hayward's devastating injury in the season opener. Kyrie Irving has recently started performing like the player the Celtics targeted, which has helped free space for the likes of Al Horford and Jaylen Brown.

Orlando has surprised thanks to Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon's early-season form, but two losses in their last four games suggest the Magic may regress toward the mean at some point.

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