Dwane Casey played his two veteran leaders a combined 84 minutes and 52 seconds at home against a 10-win Cavaliers team and lost.
If that’s not proof it’s time to blow this team up and go for the full youth movement I don’t know what to tell you.
I certainly walked away from Detroit’s 115-112 overtime loss with a lot more questions than answers.
One question — How can Derrick Rose make things look so, so easy, and also make the easiest things look so, so hard?
Another — Does Detroit know they are allowed to stop dribble penetration? Like, it’s not against the rules.
Last question — Where the heck was Sekou???
The Pistons actually led this game comfortably for most the night. They floated comfortably between an eight-point and 13-point lead until a patented third-quarter collapse and fourth-quarter implosion.
The loss can really be summed up by three late-game possessions from Rose. Detroit’s offensive engine played a season-high 35 minutes, was just about the only reliable source of points in the second half but had a number of truly horrific plays that are simply inexcusable.
Possession One: The Pistons were up two points and really had a chance to put pressure on the Cavs with 2 minutes to play. But Rose casually dribbled into a double team and fumbled the the ball, which squirted into the hands of Collin Sexton.
Instead of a four-point lead, a two-possession game and the Cavs being on their heels, Cleveland marched down the court and got Tristan Thompson a dunk to tie the game.
Rose was able to redeem himself with a jumper that again gave the Pistons the lead (Rose giveth, Rose taketh away), but Thompson got himself to the free-throw line and tied the game again.
Possession Two: Rose had the ball in a tie game with 24.5 seconds remaining. He danced around the top of the key making no effort to create separation or force the defense to react. He managed to get himself an off-balance 21-foot jumper that barely grazed the rim.
I understand wanting to get the last shot, but Rose has proven he can get from the top of the key into the restricted area in about two seconds so why did he feel like his only option was an off-balance jumper?
Third possession: The Cavaliers are up by three points in overtime and Rose seems to have crossed over Alphonso McKinnie for a good look at the basket. But Rose can’t protect the ball and either gets it pokes away or just loses it in the lane.
Rose was the perfect embodiment of this game. He was Detroit’s leading scorer with 12 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and finished the game with 27 points. But he also had four of his six turnovers in that same span and only dished five assists for the game.
It was a frustrating night for the team, for Rose and for viewers.
Another big source of frustration was Tristan Thompson who had a career-high 35 points and powered Cleveland’s comeback in the second half.
It was a shame because Thompson’s late-game surge overshadowed a solid, controlled game from Andre Drummond who had 28 points and 23 rebounds in a season-high 49 minutes.
Drummond struggled defensively late as the Cavaliers guards were just knifing into the paint at will. Darius Garland and Sexton and had 20 and 19 points, respectively, and Matthew Dellavedova didn’t score much but he was able to find open looks for his teammates in the third quarter that really allowed the Cavs to get back into it.
With Detroit’s vets getting so many minutes there wasn’t much left over for Sekou Doumbouya (19 minutes), who struggled with fouls, and Christian Wood (14 minutes), who continues to just straight up struggled. Doumbouya had four fouls in his brief time but still showed you why Pistons fans are excited. He had eight points and hit both his 3-pointers.
Instead of getting his young guys some crunch-time experience, Dwane Casey seemed desperate for a win in a very winnable game. But he came up short.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Rose sat out the next game and who knows if Drummond will also be held back a bit as the team prepares for it’s next game — a home tilt against the Chicago Bulls.
I just want more Sekou.