Detroit — The Pistons competed against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday for nearly 48 minutes but couldn’t execute down the stretch, resulting in another close defeat. The game was marred by foul trouble, but even more devastating, the Pistons allowed Doncic to score 53 points, a season-high in points allowed by one player.
With that loss on their minds, all the Pistons wanted was to get back home to Detroit — but the weather forecast had other plans. An ice storm raging across Dallas and the majority of North Texas, combined with their plane’s logistical issues, prevented the Pistons from leaving on Monday night and kept them stranded in the city through Thursday morning.
Since the Pistons were left idle in Dallas, the NBA postponed their home game against the Washington Wizards. The game, originally scheduled for Wednesday, will be rescheduled at a later date. The team was able to successfully leave Dallas on Thursday, using the same plane the New Orleans Pelicans flew into Dallas on earlier that day, according to league sources.
“It was hectic, man,” Jaden Ivey told The Detroit News after Wednesday’s shootaround. “We were pretty upset we didn’t get the win, and we were looking forward to (going home) after the game. (On Tuesday), we were like, ‘OK, we’re going to try to make it home,’ and we just sat on the airplane and, all of a sudden, we couldn’t leave. And then, the (Wednesday) goes by. We were for certain that we would get a chance to go home, or at least an attempt. We had to be down in the lobby around 10:30 a.m. and we just got an announcement that we were not going to make it out that day.”
Though the team was stuck in Dallas, it didn’t mean they had an extra off day. With the extra time, the Pistons used Wednesday to practice at the Mavericks’ practice facility to stay ready for Friday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets.
Ivey said he’s never been trapped in a city due to weather, despite being on several basketball trips, spanning back to high school and college. The Midwest native is used to cold weather, after spending most of his childhood in South Bend and La Porte, Ind., which he compared to Detroit’s winters. There was plenty of time to bond as well.
“It was a crazy experience to go through, but, like I told them on the airplane, I said, ‘I wouldn’t want to be stranded with anybody else,'” Ivey said. “It obviously sucks that we were stranded, but we got to bond with everybody and jell with everybody. It didn’t turn out as bad as it was, but it was definitely crazy.”
Pistons coach Dwane Casey addressed the situation on Friday, for the first time since the team returned, during his pregame press conference.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been through a situation like that before back in Seattle. We missed a game and got stuck in New York. It was a huge blizzard. I can’t remember what year it was, 1996, 1997. We were stuck there for three or four days and the NBA stuck that last game in Portland. We had to fly all the way to New York the next day to play.
“It’s no fun, but it’s a bonding experience. You have an opportunity to go through something together. You kind of give in to the fact that there’s nothing to do about it. The weather, you can’t control that sometimes, like you can’t control whether you make or miss a shot. From that standpoint, guys did a good job of fighting through it, getting through it and I thought our organization did a good job of trying as much as we could to keep everyone busy and happy.”
Suns at Pistons
Tipoff: 7 Saturday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
Outlook: The Pistons will complete their first home back-to-back on Saturday against the Suns, who are playing without All-Star guard Devin Booker due to a left groin strain. The all-time series between the Pistons and Suns is tied, 71-71. Phoenix has won the last four games, including a 108-102 win over Detroit on Nov. 25.