The Detroit Pistons were run off the floor by the Washington Wizards 126-107 in a battle of the only two-win teams remaining in the NBA. Washington entered on a nine-game losing streak while Detroit stretches its losing streak to 14 games. The worst part for Detroit is that it was blindingly obvious who the better team was tonight, and it wasn’t the Pistons.
After the first quarter, the only Little Caesars Arena wasn’t absolutely silent was when the frustrated hometown fans decided they’d had enough and booed the Pistons.
Detroit had previously had a players-only meeting, but no conversations among players is going to turn a roster full of non-shooters into dangerous marksmen. Relatedly, the Pistons were 8-of-38 from the 3-point line. They lost the turnover battle, and were doubled-up at the free-throw line.
In other words, the Pistons lost in ways they’ve been losing all season. Nothing is going to change until the lineups change, and there isn’t much Monty Williams can do with the players currently on the roster (though his rotations aren’t exactly inspiring confidence). As frustrated as fans are, however, it’s hard to argue that the executives in charge of building (or is it rebuilding? Restoring?) this roster over the past four painful seasons should have the latitude to make any major changes.
This roster feels resigned to be what it is. Entirely flawed and destined to be near the bottom of the league’s standings.
That’s not to say that there weren’t some occassional bright spots out of Detroit. Ausar Thompson continues to do special things on both sides of the floor. Jaden Ivey continues to be the team’s best two-way player, and someone who has taken obvious strides as a defender and as a finisher. Jalen Durren had 12 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks.
The bench, though, was just so exquisitely outmatched that it was hard to put into words, especially when considering they when you factor in that Detroit was facing the Washington Wizards (no offense).
Isaiah Livers had what has to be the worst game of his professional career. He was 3-of-11 from the field and it seemed like every decision he made on defense was the wrong one. He was minus-26 in 23 minutes, and that is a pretty good encapsulation of his night.
Marvin Bagley was hurt, which meant Monty dusted off James Wiseman for 9 minutes as a backup big. When you factor in the defensive limitations of starter Duren, typical backup center Marvin Bagley and then are forced to turn to Wiseman, it’s like Michael Keaton making a copy of a copy of himself in Multiplicity. You’re making a copy of a copy of a poor defensive center. James, might be a nice guy, but you don’t want him in charge of your interior defense.
Marcus Sasser has gone ice cold and it’s impacting his ability to make any quality decisions on the floor, Alec Burks forgot how to shoot an is providing nothing on the defensive end, and Killian Hayes is invisible. Throw all those ingredients into a delectable stew and you get 20-point losses to one of the NBA’s worst teams.
This is the kind of loss that makes you reflect on some big-picture things with this franchise, but we’ll keep it isolated to tonight’s game for now. Let’s sleep on it and think about WHAT IT ALL MEANS (tm) another time.
Kyle Kuzma had 32 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, and he didn’t even play particularly well or try particularly hard. It’s just that easy to beat the Detroit Pistons these days.