The Detroit Pistons, at 6-12, are a game and a half out of the eighth seed... and two games out of last place. Such is the peril and promise of the Eastern Conference. With a tiny bit more know-how or luck or basketball IQ or your secret sauce of choice, this team would have more wins under it’s belt. But they don’t. So the question is rapidly becoming “...what are you gonna do about it?”
When: November 29, 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
The Pistons have already lost two down-to-the wire games against the Charlotte Hornets this season in (heartbreaking? dumbfounding? bewildering?) unexpected fashion - one pretty-well-contested Malik Monk buzzer beater, and one Derrick-Whatcha-DOIN-Bro failure to get a shot before time expired. Those two losses mean the Pistons have lost eight straight games to the Hornets, which means their last win against Charlotte was... the first regular-season game in Little Caesars Arena history? Wow, I was AT that game - the infamous Stanley Johnson 0-13 game.
Anyway, the Pistons shouldn’t have lost that game Wednesday against Charlotte, and I see no reason to believe they will lose again tonight, unless you count “offending Laz’s personal sensibilities” as a reason. Previously, this Pistons teams was losing because they were giving up a lot (a LOT) of points, and turning the ball over a lot.
Since a scheduling quirk gave this team four consecutive days off, they’ve “fixed” the defense (only allowing 102.5 points per game), even if the scheme looks pretty similar and the personnel hasn’t changed at all. Additionally, they’ve turned the ball over... less (16.8 turnovers a game to 14.8 turnovers a game). 15 turnovers a night is still too many, but it’s an improvement.
In place of the defense not being able to figure it out, the offense has struggled to get in gear consistently (only scoring 102.8 points per game). At least, on that front, one of the easiest tweaks to make has been done - Thon Maker had 0:00 of playing time last game, his first DNP-CD of the season.
The team cleaning up it’s issues defensively means Dwane Casey can lean harder on that big lever labelled “Offense,” and let Christian Wood roam free and do stuff like this:
I still think a non-terrible NBA team is hiding in here somewhere, but if you’ve given up on looking, I can’t honestly say I blame you. At least tonight is a home game, where the Pistons have been decent (5-3 at home, 1-9 on the road). Hopefully that’s enough to power Detroit to a much-needed win.
Detroit Pistons (6-12):
Bruce Brown Jr., Luke Kennard, Tony Snell, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Charlotte Hornets (7-12):
Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, Bismack Biyombo
48 minutes of agony.