For those who have noticed that the Pistons' 4th quarter performances have been lacking, you are absolutely right. Over the last 37 games, Detroit has been outscored 24 times in the 4th quarter, and has outscored opponents only 10 times.
All told, the Pistons go into the last stanza with the expectation of losing 1.4 points. If we extrapolate that number, we get an overall deficit of 5.6 ppg. In other words, we play like a bad lottery team in the 4th quarter. So, why is this the case? A few reasons.
1) Chauncey Billups was a fantastic finisher. He is no longer on the team. This has been discussed ad infinitum, so enough said.
2) Second, our free throw shooting has been off. Detroit is now one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the league. We have lost a couple of games late for this reason.
3) Coach Curry's substitutions are arbitrary and bizarre. Further, there are seemingly no set plays in the final quarter. Other coaches use their secret weapon plays to finish out the game. Curry simply urges his team to use sensurgency. Not helpful.
4) We have no reliable scoring presence. We have plenty of scorers, but who demands the ball down the stretch? At this point, the answer to that question seems to be Jason Maxiell, who seldom plays.
If all of our games were decided in the first three quarters of non-Sunday games, we'd be a championship contender. As it stands, there seems to be some tangible chemistry and coaching issues.
Food for thought, anyway.