Pistons news: Dwane Casey calls out “atrocious” starting lineup

Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey Credit: Allison Farrand-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey Credit: Allison Farrand-USA TODAY Sports /

For three quarters, the Detroit Pistons outscored the Memphis Grizzlies 86-82 and played pretty good basketball against one of the best teams in the league.

Unfortunately, NBA games are four quarters long and the Pistons were pretty much out of this one before the first one was even over.

The Pistons came out as they often have early in games, looking like they shared a bottle of cough syrup in the locker room. Detroit has been getting killed by slow starts all season, though they’ve been slightly better over the last ten games in that regard, going from 30th overall to 27th in 1st-quarter points per game. Whoopee!

It happened again last night, as Memphis jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Detroit Pistons even had their shoes laced up. By the end of the 1st quarter, Memphis led 40-26 and the game was essentially over even though Detroit did their best to battle back.

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Dwane Casey wasn’t happy with his group’s effort and told them so after the game, saying:

"“The hardest thing to do now in this league is to be consistent and learn how to win consistently…Each game has a different look for defense, offense, spacing, sharing the ball, and making the right play at the right time. To do that consistently you have to be locked in, understand the moment, and that’s what we’re still learning how to do. It starts with our first unit, which was atrocious. We have to make sure we come out with the right focus.”"

So why has the Detroit Pistons starting lineup been struggling so much this season?

Detroit Pistons: Overcoming the slow starts

At the beginning of the season, Detroit was running the same starting lineup out pretty much every night, but since the injuries started to pile up, it’s been a different group almost every game.

This definitely has an effect on continuity and roles, especially without their leader and best player Cade Cunningham to lean on when the shots aren’t falling early in the game.

But the real issue is defense, as the Pistons just come out flat so often and look like they aren’t prepared to play basketball when the opening tip goes up.

Some of that is just part of having a young team that is learning to focus and show up night after night, but part of that has to fall on the coach as well, who needs to find the right combination of guys and try to stick with them for more than a game or two at a time.

This isn’t all on coach Casey, as I am sure he would love to be able to have consistent rotations, but injuries have prevented that from being possible. His players have responded to being called out in the past, so hopefully Detroit will come out with more focus and effort early in the next game.

With upcoming road games coming against the Heat, Pelicans and Grizzlies (with the Miami/New Orleans a back-to-back) Detroit had better figure it out quickly, or they are going to find themselves constantly trying to mount comebacks, which is not where a young team wants to be.

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