A look back at the week that ended the Detroit Pistons season

Detroit Pistons Dwane Casey. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Dwane Casey. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons are on a five-game losing streak, including two critical loses to the Nets. Here’s a look at the last week that ended the season.

The Detroit Pistons season was on life support but the plug was pulled over the last week.

The Pistons lost all five games, falling to 17-33, and it includes a pair of games to the Brooklyn Nets, who cling to the East’s eight playoff spot. FiveThirtyEight gives the Pistons a less-than 1% chance at making the playoffs, despite only sitting 4.5 games behind the Nets.

Detroit is 12-25 against the weaker Eastern Conference and, somehow, 5-8 against the West. But the test gets harder as the season goes along. The Pistons have the most difficult schedule in March.

Of course, injury woes are a big part of the Pistons’ story this season. Blake Griffin underwent a second knee surgery in eight months and is out for the season. Luke Kennard has been out for over a month with knee tendinitis. Reggie Jackson, who is finally healthy, missed 42 games with a back injury.

Senior advisor Ed Stefanski will be busy leading up to the February 6 trade deadline. The Pistons have been implicated in trade rumors for the better part of a month and it’s time to capitalize. Andre Drummond, Derrick Rose, Langston Galloway, Christian Wood and Kennard have all been mentioned, either in reports or speculation.

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The latest losing streak started with a 125-112 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Detroit didn’t play poorly on the offensive end, with just seven turnovers but were out-rebounded 49-37. It happened, in part, due to the Grizzlies shooting 54.4% from the field and 11-of-22 on 3s. Drummond sat out with a lacerated lip.

After a brutal third quarter, the Pistons fought back to force overtime in a 121-111 loss to the Nets. Drummond returned with a 20-point, 21-rebound performance but took 20 shots. Rose scored 27 points and played fourth-quarter heroics down the stretch. But Kyrie Irving scored 45 points and Jarrett Allen turned in 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

The third loss came on a night where the Pistons honored Kobe Bryant, with many touching tributes, but not their play, as Dwane Casey said. The Pistons lost 115-100 to the Cavaliers, who shot 50%. Tristan Thompson had 17 points, 11 rebounds and was 7 for 8. Kevin Love added 20 points on 7 for 11. Drummond’s stat line looked nice — 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks — but he was a team-worst minus-18.

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Brooklyn delivered the dagger with six players scoring double figures in a 125-115 over Detroit. Former Piston Spencer Dinwiddie scored 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Irving added 20 more points and Taurean Prince had 22 points, seven rebounds and four steals. While the Pistons shot 50.6% and out-rebounded the Nets, their defense was disheartening and allowed the Nets to shoot 15-for-39 on 3s.

The final loss came at the hands of the defending champions — a 105-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Though Drummond turned in another 20-20 performance, this time on 12 shots, the Pistons weren’t as sharp offensively, converting only 35.4% of shots. The Raptors hit 51.8% from the field with Pascal Siakam scoring 30 on 18 shots, Serge Ibaka 21 on 14 shots and Fred VanVleet 16 on 11 shots.

Sense the common theme? The Pistons allowed 120 points, or more, three times in this span, averaging out 118.2 per game in the five losses. Opponents shot 50% or better in four of the five losses, the lone exception being the overtime loss to Brooklyn.

As Detroit trades away its players over the next week, the Pistons will get even weaker and lose depth. Moving forward, the veterans will be critical to the younger players’ development. As a result, it’ll be encouraging if the Pistons continue to contest games to the final buzzer, especially as the young core improves.

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