Pistons news: Clean and dirty, veteran mistakes and clutch chokes

Jan 31, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) throws a pass
Jan 31, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) throws a pass / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

For just a minute it looked like the Detroit Pistons were going to win their second game in a row against a good team, but once the clock hit the five-minute mark in the 4th quarter, the minute was over.

The Pistons were leading the Cavaliers by five points with just 6:05 left to play, but they predictably collapsed just one minute later as they entered "clutch" time, which has been a theme all season in close games.

Detroit gave us much of what we wanted to see. They moved the ball well throughout the game, racking up 27 assists. Cade Cunningham added seven of them and recorded zero turnovers in the process, playing the kind of clean game the Pistons need him to play.

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But it was his veteran teammates that let him down, as Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks accounted for six of the team's 17 turnovers, including two during clutch time that sealed the game for Cleveland.

So Cade played clean, but his teammates did him dirty and he didn't help himself as the Pistons choked away the game in the clutch.

The Detroit Pistons fall apart in the clutch again

The Pistons have been terrible in the last five minutes of close games. Their -56 net rating is the worst in the NBA in clutch time. I'm not sure what happens but these late-game yips seem to affect everyone.

Bojan Bogdanovic threw the ball away with the Pistons up two and a chance to extend their lead when Alec Burks slipped and couldn't haul in the pass.

After Bogey and Mitchell exchanged 3's (how many times did the Pistons switch unnecessarily last night? And how can you keep going under screens and giving the guy that much space?), Jalen Duren put the Pistons up two with just over three minutes to play.

After that, it got ugly, as the Cavs went on a 10-0 run with the following Pistons' offensive possessions:

-Missed layup by Cade Cunningham
-Missed 3-point shot by Bogdanovic
-Missed 3-point shot by Burks
-Shot clock violation out of a timeout (great play, coach!)
-Missed layup by Cade Cunningham
-Me throwing something at the wall

The first two shots rattled in and out and were just bad luck, but the shot clock violation out of a timeout was inexcusable. Monty Williams called a timeout only to come out of it and run a play that had Alec Burks dribbling the ball on the wing as the shot clock expired. It was clear Burks didn't realize there were only 12 seconds on the shot clock when they inbounded, which is unacceptable for a veteran player and coach coming out of a timeout that HE CALLED TO SET UP A PLAY.

It's like the collective IQ of the team goes down several hundred points in the last five minutes of the game, as it's not just the young players making boneheaded mistakes, which you could understand.

A lot went right in this game, and if you only looked at certain stats (FG%, 3-point%, offensive rebounds) you would think the Pistons won the game. But take a closer look at the +7 Cleveland enjoyed on the free-throw line and the +22 they had on points in the paint, it's clear why the Pistons lost.