It’s April, and here’s what the Pistons had to be happy about last night:
Allen Iverson didn’t rant about his lack of minutes. (EDIT: Yes, he did. It’s tough to find three things going right for the Pistons)
The Bobcats didn’t beat the Celtics in double overtime.
And now, Detroit won’t have to play until Saturday after a 111-98 loss to the Nets.
For the Pistons lately, it’s been about avoiding failure. They don’t always shrink in tough situations, but it seems more often than not, they do.
In the last five days, the Pistons have played in four cities.
Sunday: Auburn Hills (against Philadelphia)
Tuesday: East Rutherford, N.J.
The Pistons won those first two games. And they put up a fight in Cleveland. But against the lowly Nets? Detroit coach Michael Curry via Pistons.com:
“When we have guys that don’t have it, they don’t have it,” Curry said. “I don’t think they’re giving into it. I see plenty of fight in the guys. You can see sometimes we’re a step slow. It makes for a long night. That’s why we went with a lot of different guys, trying to create that energy.”
Let’s face it. The NBA is a long, grueling season. This is the type of game most teams lose. But it’s still tough to grasp the Pistons are like most teams.
The Pistons have been to the last six conference finals. Now, Detroit has lost two in a row and eight of 11.
And this one was basically done before it began.
A Brook Lopez dunk with 4:13 left in the first quarter gave the Nets a seven-point lead. Detroit never got closer.
The Pistons’ defensive rating (127.5) was their third-worst of the season. The only two games with a higher rating came against Houston and Dallas in a single weekend in January.
New Jersey shot 51.3 percent. The Nets had just eight turnovers. And they had six players in double digits.
They controlled the pace and got anywhere they wanted on the court.
The Pistons had a few good performances offensively. Richard Hamilton scored 29 points and had six assists. Rodney Stuckey had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists. And Walter Herrmann chipped in 16 points off the bench.
But that didn’t outweigh the players whose tired legs showed up on offense as well as defense.
Allen Iverson, who didn’t do any conditioning while he was out, shot just 1-of-8.
Antonio McDyess and Kwame Brown both had more fouls than points.
Games like this happen. But the Pistons better stop them from piling up before the Bobcats steal a playoff spot.