The Detroit Pistons’ epic losing streak is going to come to an end someday.
Tonight was a good night for it.
The struggling Memphis Grizzlies — sans Ja Morant, Steven Adams, Luke Kenner and Marcus Smart — arrived at Little Caesars Arena and looked like the Pistons’ best chance at that much, much, much, much needed victory.
For 2.5 quarters, it looked like that may happen.However, Memphis may be bad but they still know how to win. The Pistons do not. That was apparent on both sides in the second half.
Memphis settled down from the middle of the third quarter on and its remaining stars, Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr., did the rest. The former scored a career-high 49 points while Jackson, an MSU product, added 24 as Detroit lost, yet again, 114-102.
Where do we begin?
Where we always begin, of course.
It’s been a nightly occurrence during this stretch: when the going gets tough, the Pistons fold. Monty Williams has acknowledged it. The players have. Yet, it keeps happening.
One again, it was the case in the second half tonight. Bane’s huge third quarter (17 points) was the first sign of adversity, but the Pistons actually rallied and led by two going into the fourth. Then the Grizzlies kept firing and Detroit started missing.
Their confidence vanished. Their defense fell off even more, and in the blink of an eye they were victims of a 19-4 run.
Jalen Duren, who has dealt with a myriad of ankle injuries this season, turned his ankle bad in the fourth and left the game for good. I’m not sure this team could handle the loss of Duren for a long stretch. They’re horrific, but the impact there would be huge.
As if this season could be anymore tragic.
Duren had a great game brewing, too, with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Cade Cunningham also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists.
Omari Sankofa of the Free Press reported this nugget earlier in the week:
Sources say Pistons brass is reluctant to hit the panic button — meaning a sweeping front office change looks unlikely for now. With three-fourths of the season remaining, there’s time for the roster to gel, and fortunes to turn. Bogdanovic’s return, at the very least, should make Cunningham’s life easier and give the team the firepower needed to be more competitive in tight games late.
I guess the source meant that Bojan making them more competitive meant they’d only lose by 10 instead of 20 points? He was good tonight, scoring 22 points with four rebounds and seven assists. If he’s on this roster after the February 8th trade deadline they should have Troy Weaver pack up his office on February 9th.
I was really bummed out with Isaiah Stewart. He’s had highs and lows this season, but it’s becoming clearer by the day that the power forward in Williams’ system must be able to do more than just stand out there and shoot.
Even Jae Crowder, far from an all-around scorer, was able to do something off the bounce. Stew has shown he’s incapable of making any positive plays off a second read. If the open shot isn’t there, he has no recourse.
And when things are going poorly like they did tonight (9 points, 7 rebounds on 3/7 shooting) his entire game falls apart. He misses layups. He fouls. He makes bad passes. It’s tough to watch because he’s the one guy who gives a crap on a nightly basis.
But, man, he sure isn’t helping right now.
Again, you can’t blame one guy. The Pistons couldn’t contain Bane tonight. They couldn’t even get the ball out of his hands. It’s just a failure at every level, every night, that leads to a losing streak like this.
They’re now three losses away from their all-time record of 21. Next up is a pair of upstarts in Orlando and Indiana and then a gauntlet of games against Philly twice, Milwaukee and Atlanta.
Feels like it’s going to take a Christmas miracle to avoid history, doesn’t it?