Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Detroit Pistons fell way behind early, came roaring back and then found a way to lose in the final seconds of the game.
Detroit has lost six in a row and four of them have been in the final possession or two, as they keep finding creative ways to lose late in games.
Whether it’s a blown defensive assignment, untimely turnover or giving up an offensive rebound, the Pistons have collapsed in the latter stages of games consistently of late. You would expect this from a young team, especially one that is perpetually shorthanded, but last night’s doozy against the Bulls really was something to behold.
Jaden Ivey was inbounding the ball down two with under 10 seconds remaining in the game and called a timeout that Detroit didn’t have, which resulted in a technical foul on the Pistons that sealed one of the weirdest losses of the season.
Let’s be real here, it’s not like Detroit was up two at this point, they still needed to score to even tie the game, so Ivey deserves a little slack and I’ve already grown weary of the Chris Webber comparisons.
There isn’t one specific person to blame for all of these losses, but with stuff like this, it’s easy to point the finger at the coach for a couple of reasons.
Detroit Pistons: Lack of preparation and execution
The Pistons have had a nasty habit of falling behind huge early in games. Yes, the comebacks are nice (tantamount to racking up passing yards in the NFL when the defense is in prevent mode) but it would be even better if they didn’t fall behind so big so early.
Casey admitted as much and had this to say after the game:
"“It was lost in the first quarter. With the laissez-faire approach we had defensively, they got whatever they wanted. It’s such a mountain to climb when you get behind in this league.”"
Detroit has the second-worst 1st-quarter margin in the NBA at -3.4, which has ballooned up to -7.3 over the last three games. The team routinely comes out flat in the first half and has to mount comebacks, which to their credit, they often do. It happened again last night when Detroit went down by 21 points before roaring back in the 4th quarter.
The Pistons have actually had a +5 scoring margin in the 4th quarter over the last three games, but it doesn’t much matter when the lead is already too big and the team doesn’t execute down the stretch.
Ivey is a professional basketball player, so he should know how many timeouts the team has, especially when he’s the one taking the ball out of bounds. But could someone maybe mention it? Remind him? Players make mistakes and coaches can minimize those with some simple communication in these types of situations.
Bojan Bogdanovic admitted as much after the game when he said that the veterans should have reminded Ivey of the situation, and that includes coach Casey. These types of losses are only adding to the evidence that Detroit may need a new coach.
The Pistons have now lost 14 straight games to the Bulls, who haven’t even been very good in that time, but managed to find a whole new way to do it last night.