Dwane Casey says Pistons’ offense ‘way ahead’ of defense

Detroit News

Detroit — Almost 48 hours after the Pistons’ heartbreaking overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, coach Dwane Casey was asked about the team’s mindset ahead of their second meeting this season against the Orlando Magic.

“They were disappointed, but not devastated,” Casey said. “It was a tough game, a tough loss. It was a perfect storm against us and we learned from it.”

The Pistons allowed the Clippers to overcome a 14-point deficit in the final 3:34 of regulation to force overtime. It was the unlikeliest of comebacks. Before Monday, only two teams out of 12,873 in NBA history were successful in completing a 14-point comeback in three minutes, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Los Angeles ended the game on a 27-4 run, including overtime and the last 2:34 of regulation.

“It was clear that a lot of the things we did are correctable, like understanding the moment and situation,” Casey said. “There’s been very few times we’ve been in that situation at the end of our game for a lot of our guys. It was a good learning experience at a high cost.”

Despite the Pistons’ six-game losing streak, Casey was asked if there was anything he liked about his team’s play over the past few weeks.

“Our offense is way ahead of our defense,” Casey said. “Our offense is clicking to the level we wish our defense was … usually, it’s the other way around. Our shooting, our passing, and spacing are some of the good things we’re doing, but we have to get a balance with our defense.”

The Pistons entered Wednesday’s game against the Magic at 8-28, the worst record in the NBA. The team averages 111.2 points per game, which is among the worst in the league at 25th. The team’s defense allows 119 points per game, which as Casey mentioned, is near the bottom of the NBA at 29th.

It’s not the position the Pistons brass had hoped to be in, but the expectation was that Cade Cunningham would be in the lineup. The team has also struggled to find consistency in the lineup with a bevy of injuries. Pistons forward Isaiah Livers is currently dealing with a shoulder injury that has kept him out of 13 consecutive games.

Despite the team’s record, Casey is focused on the long-term results and how the team develops over time. He’s impressed with the growth of certain players but wants to see them come together as a collective.

“My responsibility for this group is big picture and to grow and develop,” Casey said. “I would say the results are really positive individually. We haven’t clicked together collectively. Killian Hayes is a good story, Isaiah Stewart playing a different position for the first time in his life in the NBA, (Jalen) Duren and (Jaden) Ivey are growing, but a lot of it is at the expense of winning games. My whole thought process is to develop and learn how to win, and those steps are the ones we have to continue to take.”

Knicks one-up Pistons with historic collapse

Mavericks superstar guard Luka Doncic sent the NBA world into a frenzy Tuesday night when he put together an NBA 2K-like stat line against the New York Knicks.

Doncic had a one-of-a-kind triple-double of 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists on 21-31 from the field with just two 3-pointers to lead the Mavericks to a 126-121 overtime victory over the Knicks.

Similar to the Pistons, but much worse, the Knicks had a nine-point lead with 33 seconds remaining in regulation and lost in overtime.

Casey was asked about the game before Wednesday’s game against the Magic.

“It just brought back bad memories,” Casey said. “There’s no lead that’s safe. The game is not over until the final whistle blows and I’m a firm believer in that. I preach that and also the 3-point shot, the cleverness of offensive players, the cleverness of different defenses that teams throw at you, there’s nothing safe in this league. Our game and that game last night are two examples of that.”


Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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