Thon Maker's gutsy effort to return to court wins praise

Thon Maker has always brought energy to the NBA court, but he really put his body on the line as looked to make an impact for the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

The center, who was traded to the Pistons from the Milwaukee Bucks last week, played just five minutes but made his presence felt.

The former 10th overall pick came up with a huge block on Washington’s Bobby Portis in the first half.

Maker was limited to just over a minute of playing time, after appearing to lose a tooth after an accidental collision with the Wizard’s Jordan McRae.

The Australian dynamo required five stitches, after leaving the court a bloodied mess.

Thon Maker required five stitches to fix a cut near his mouth.

Brave return

Maker didn’t shy away from returning to the court after half time.

He finished with five points, four rebounds and one block in Detroit’s 121-112 victory over the Wizards.

Pistons coach Dwayne Casey offered plenty of praise for the developing centre after the game, his second since the trade.

What a hustler that young man is,” Casey told assembled media.

I love the way he competes. His spirit is in the right place. He’s about winning.”

Veteran forward Blake Griffin was also vocal in his praise for Maker.

“He played just as hard in the second half. Gets five stitches, came back in and plays just as hard … that attitude, that toughness, is a huge thing for us,” he said.

Maker arrived in Detroit prior to the NBA trade deadline, exchanged for wing Stanley Johnson, who was sent to Milwaukee but later traded again, to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Griffin posted 31 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in the win, while teammate Andre Drummond had 32 points and 17 rebounds.

Tuesday’s victory extended Detroit’s winning streak to four games.

The Pistons have remained undefeated since blowing a 25-point lead against the LA Clippers on February 3.