Did John Kuester lose the Pistons when they blew a lead in their season-opener?

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News appeared on Sekou Smith’s Hang Time Podcast and, among other things, discussed how John Kuester lost the team (hat tip: Steve Kays):

When you start off 0-5, and to be honest, that’s where he lost this team, he lost this team when they started off 0-5. When you blow a seven-point lead in a minute and 41 seconds against the New Jersey Nets in the season opener. Sekou, when I tell you, the locker room was like a morgue after that game. I said to myself, “This might kill them for the rest of the season.” And they never got over that.

I’m not saying Goodwill is wrong. He’s talking about how the players perceived the loss, and they certainly could have become irreversibly upset with Kuester because of that and the next four games.

But Detroit’s loss to the Nets was not Kuester’s fault. As Patrick commented on my game review:

I don’t see how anyone could watch the game and think that coaching is the reason the Pistons lost. These are the reasons, as Feldman noted in his post:

- Missed 5-of-7 FTs down the stretch.

- Three guys stood and watched as Devin Harris dove on the floor to tip the ball to Morrow for the game-winning three.

Kuester didn’t make perfect coaching decisions all the time. But if the team made four of those free throws or maybe decided to go to the floor to pursue that loose ball (or maybe not collapse in the lane and leave one of the league’s best three-point shooters all alone for that matter), they win.

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