Sometimes, there’s something admirable about a shorthanded team finding a way.
The Detroit Pistons showed that against the Indiana Pacers earlier this week, scratching and clawing for a much-needed win to snap an 11-game losing streak. Shorthanded once again and facing the Washington Wizards in DC tonight, the Pistons had a chance to start their first winning streak in lord knows how long.
But it’s hard to win when you’ve only got eight healthy guys.
Washington scored when it wanted and kept the few healthy Pistons at bay in the 117-97 loss on Tuesday.
It’s never good when the two of the best performances were by guys in their mid-30s, but the was the case for the Pistons. Cory Joseph and Rodney McGruder, the only veterans on the roster, played well against the Wizards.
Joseph scored 12 points, grabbed four boards and handed out five assists while McGruder knocked down four threes and finished with 16 points. The Waiver Wire Bros — Eugene Omoruyi and RJ Hampton — could not carry their successes over in this one.
The pair combined to scored 13 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
James Wiseman had a rough night, too. After giving Daniel Gafford the business last week with 21 point on 10-of-13 shooting, it was the opposite tonight. Wiseman missed 11 of his 15 shots en route to 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Jalen Duren was a bit better with 9 points and 8 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench, but he had issues at times with the two-big look from Washington with Kristaps Porzingis and Gafford. Still wish we’d see more of the centers together, but with so few guys available it’s really impossible right now.
All eyes were on Killian Hayes after he notched consecutive double-doubles against the Pacers earlier this week. Things weren’t quite as effortless tonight, but still good. He scored 20 points and dished 7 assists, but also turned it over five times and was a game-worst -29.
It’s nice to see Killian play well, but it’s also frustrating.
When you give him star-level usage, he’s shown he can do some fun stuff.
But this high-usage role is not his future; at least not in the NBA. He’s got to learn how to harness the good from these outbursts when he’s the last guy standing and put it to use when Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham are around.
The shooting MUST be better, too. Hayes has made one of his past 15 shots from downtown and is shooting just 18% from 3-point range since Feb. 2. It’s kind of amazing he’s done all of this recently while being such a non-factor from deep.
Anyways, the ethos of the game was the Pistons couldn’t stop Washington. It seemed like every other score for the Wizards had you thinking, “that’s too easy.” It was a layup line, an old-school ass kicking.
I can’t really fault the Pistons, though. They’re hanging on by a thread right now with all of these injuries. The defense can certainly be better. It should be. But fatigiue becomes an issue and every time Detroit mounted a run, the Wiz answered.
Tonight, the Pistons just didn’t have enough.