The Detroit Pistons played entertaining and competitive basketball for three quarters last night against the Indiana Pacers, but returned to form in the 4th quarter.
After taking care of the ball for most of the game, the Pistons reverted to what they've done all season, which is turn the ball over, with half of their 14 turnovers coming in the final quarter. The Pacers won the quarter 39 to 17 to win Group A of the in-season tournament and earn themselves a home game in the next round.
The Pistons are now in rare territory, as they have lost 13 straight, which has only been done four times in franchise history. A loss against the Wizards on Friday would tie the worst losing streak in Pistons' history, and I have to say, if they lose to the lousy, tanking Wizards at home, the all-time NBA losing streak is in play.
There were some positives in the game, but that will be little comfort to a fanbase that is wondering when we are going to see another win.
Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey have one of their best games as as duo
We probalby shouldn't get too excited about the fact that Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey scored a combined 56 points, as they were up against the worst defense in the NBA.
The Pacers are first in the league in scoring but last in points allowed, giving up over 125 points per game on average so far this season. So the Pistons scoring 113 is actually low even though it seemed like an offensive outburst for a team that averages just 109 points per game on the season.
But it did feel like the Pistons started to figure out some things offensively with the two of them on the court together last night and the offense sputtered to a full halt when both were out. Both guys were getting to the rim at will and both got to the line nine times, which is a great development. Cade has been getting more favorable whistles finally and is starting to get to the line with more regularity.
Ivey has been noticeably more engaged on defense, is biting on fewer pump fakes and getting blown by far less often. So it appears Monty Williams' tough love worked and Ivey does deserve some credit for putting in the work to get better on the defensive end.
Hopefully, the days of Jaden Ivey coming off the bench are over and the Pistons will start leaning into one of their strengths (if they in fact have any), which is this young backcourt.
Pistons are the worst of the rebuilds
Part of the reason this slide into the abyss has been so frustrating is that most of the other young teams are playing well, or at least much better than Detroit.
The Orlando Magic, who were often compared to the Pistons in terms of the stage of their respective rebuilds, have won six in a row and are now in 2nd place in the East. They made the leap to competitive basketball last season while the Pistons tanked away and it shows, as they came into this season confident and ready to make another leap.
The Pacers are 9-6 and built an elite offense around Tyrese Haliburton, allowing him to put up All-NBA numbers through the first 15 games. They just surrounded him with shooters and leaned into what they do well, which is score the ball. It makes you wonder what kind of numbers Cade would be putting up if he were on the Pacers with all of that shooting around him.
Even the lousy Hornets, who the Pistons beat for one of their two wins, have won five games and have looked like competent NBA team at times.
The Thunder, another very young team, made their leap last season and did it again in this one, as they are 11-4 and in the 2nd spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets, the team who most closely resembled the Pistons going into this past offseason, are 8-6 after adding veterans who actually play. Weird concept. But at least the Pistons are sitting on all those second-round picks in 2026!
Considering the Wizards only just started their rebuild, it's safe to say that the Detroit Pistons' "restoration" is going the worst of any of the young teams and they are getting left behind as others are learning how to win and even putting themselves in top seeds for the playoffs.