The Detroit Pistons did a lot of things right against the Los Angeles Clippers.
They are shooting better than they have all season, the floor spacing has been great and they've figured some things out with the bench, including using Danilo Gallinari as a surprisingly effective small-ball five.
Jaden Ivey was electric at times last night, racking up 28 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the process. The recently unleashed Marcus Sasser was feeling it, dropping 21 points in 20 minutes while making us wonder how in the world Killian Hayes was ever seeing the court.
But as usual, the good outweighed the bad with the Pistons, tipping the scales back to the team that is now an embarrassing 6-42, the 15th time in the last 16 years that they have finished at or below .500 for the season.
The Detroit Pistons lost to a familiar foe last night, themselves.
The Detroit Pistons defense in disarray
The Pistons couldn't get a stop last night, allowing the Clippers to shoot nearly 60 percent!?! from the floor and over 48 percent from long range. Some of this was the greatness of Kawhi Leonard, who hit some tough shots last night to which you have to just tip your cap. The Pistons had many nice defensive stands against Kawhi, and when players score off tough shots there isn't much you can do, but there were others when there was no defense at all.
Detroit has a terrible strategy/habit of going under screens with little resistance, switching before they have to and allowing wide-open 3-point shots, which they did all night. Leonard was 6-of-8 himself and on most of them, you couldn't even see the defender, who was eclipsed by a screener, six feet away.
The Pistons allowed some easy ones out of inbounds plays when the defense wasn't ready, which led to uncontested layups. We are now well into the second half of the season and the Pistons' team defense still looks like five guys at the YMCA who have never met getting throttled in a pickup game.
They switch too early or too late, and in general, look tentative and unsure closing out. For the second straight season, the Pistons have the worst defense in the NBA after we heard all offseason about how they were going to "build around defense." So much for that.
And when they weren't giving the Clippers buckets in the half-court with porous defense, they were handing the ball over for easy hoops off some of the dumbest turnovers you'll ever see.
The Detroit Pistons' turnovers are almost comical
It's not just that the Pistons turned it over 16 times for 25 Clippers' points, which was again the difference in the game, it's that most of them were just unforced, boneheaded, stupid mistakes.
Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey turned it over on consecutive possessions in the third quarter on passes that went nowhere near their intended target as they lept in the air before they knew what they wanted to do with the ball and tried to fire it across the court.
Cade threw a pass to Ivey that looked like it was intended for someone in the third row. Ivey didn't even get a hand on it.
It was like watching a football game where the quarterback is struggling and you can see the interceptions before they even leave his hand. And most of these were of the pick-6 variety, as the Clippers were catching passes in stride and taking them to the house for layups. Some of the passes looked like they were intended for LA.
And it wasn't just the young guards. Veteran Bojan Bogdanovic had four of the most egregious turnovers, passing it to guys who weren't there and several times just throwing it up for grabs. Amir Coffey and Russell Westbrook (who would have made an amazing free safety) were licking their chops as they flashed into passing lanes for six combined steals that were among the easiest they've ever been gifted.
You shouldn't lose games in which you score 125 points, even in today's game. You shouldn't lose games in which your team shoots over 50 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from 3-point range.
But the Detroit Pistons have lost plenty of them lately, as their offensive surge has coincided with an imploding defense and a highlight reel of stupid turnovers that might deserve their own documentary series.