| Detroit Free Press
Pistons’ Dwane Casey on Jerami Grant’s drive: I thought he got fouled
Dwane Casey upset after no foul call on final play, says Pistons are due for a little luck after 103-102 loss to Rockets at LCA, Jan. 22, 2021.
The Detroit Pistons’ 103-102 loss against the Houston Rockets on Friday at Little Caesars Arena may not have been as soul-crushing as the previous defeats, but it shared a common theme: The Pistons have struggled to put together a full 48 minutes of good play.
Their double-digit leads don’t last, and though they often erase large deficits, they fail to close the gap all the way, or if they do, don’t finish off their opponent.
Their performances typically end up in the loss column, and they’re trying to figure out the missing ingredient. After Friday’s loss, they’re 3-12 and have the NBA’s worst record.
“I don’t know if it’s sluggish from being emotionally drunk from the other night, losing in Atlanta,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said postgame, referring to Wednesday’s squandering of a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and overtime loss. “The excuse is not even important if we’re going to build a winning program. We’ve got to come out every night with our guns blazing, ready to roll no matter what happens. It’s going to be the same tomorrow night. I commend our guys for coming back in the second half, but we dug ourselves such a big hole that it took just too many shovels to get out of it.”
Outside of Jerami Grant (25.1 points per game), it’s unclear who will help carry the scoring load any given night. Derrick Rose is the second-leading scorer at 14.8 points per game, but is on a minutes restriction and averaging 23.8 per game, which limits his impact. Rose finished Friday’s game with nine points on 3-for-11 shooting.
Blake Griffin is also in the midst of a down scoring year after coming off of a season shortened by knee surgery. He is averaging 12.8 points and shooting a dismal 38.3%, and scored seven points on 2-for-8 shooting vs. Houston (5-9).
It doesn’t fully explain Detroit’s lack of execution at times, though. They turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter against the Rockets and shot 7-for-21 in the period, fueling Houston’s offense early as the Pistons fell behind by 20 points in the second quarter. They recovered, committing 10 turnovers through the rest of the night.
They took their first lead late in the third quarter after a Grant 3-pointer, but the odds weren’t in their favor when Grant’s would-be game-winner fell just after the buzzer.
Grant may have been fouled before he even got his shot off — P.J. Tucker gave him a small push before his drive to the rim and played physical defense the entire way.
“I thought he got fouled three times before he got to the rim,” Casey said. “Unfortunately they called it after time was gone, but that play, definitely can run it in 3.4 seconds.”
Had the Pistons got off to a stronger start, the game might not have even come down to the final shot. They also missed four of five foul shots in the final 109 seconds. The Rockets were without two of their best three players in John Wall and Christian Wood, but the Pistons couldn’t capitalize.
“We’re finding ways to get back into it, get ourselves in position to win,” Casey said. “And we’re due, that’s all I can say. We’re due to have some good luck, good execution, some good shots falling in.”