It was another rough week for the Detroit Pistons.
On Monday, the Pistons got crushed by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday, the Pistons had one of the most crushing defeats for any team this entire NBA season.
The Miami Heat were in Auburn Hills for a critical matchup in the race for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons had control of the game with just minutes remaining, when a series of screw ups gave the Heat a chance to get back in the game.
With 30 seconds left the Pistons were up by four points. The Heat were inbounding the ball when Pistons forward Stanley Johnson stepped on the out-of-bounds line, which is a technical foul. The Heat sank the free throw and then scored on that possession, making it a one point game. Next, the Pistons were on offense when the Heat’s tough defense was able to force a jump ball, which they won. With just seconds left in the contest, the Heat’s James Johnson took a shot that missed, then, Goran Dragic was able to steal the rebound from the Pistons and throw up another shot that missed. Lastly, Hassan Whiteside was able to tip it in with his left hand as time expired.
It was a devastating defeat for the Pistons, who can’t seem to get anything to go their way as of late. If the Pistons had been able to pull out the victory, they would have been well within striking distance of the eighth seed, but now those hopes are likely dead.
On Friday, the Pistons took on the Milwaukee Bucks and were defeated in overtime 108-105. The Pistons leading scorer was Tobias Harris, who shot an impressive 10-of-14 from the field.
The best thing for the Pistons to do following the loss to the Heat was to try and get a higher selection in the draft. With this in mind, the Pistons beat the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday 90-89. The Nets are the worst team in the NBA, but at this point any victory for the Pistons just hurts their chances in the lottery.
Pistons starting point guard Reggie Jackson has been out for the last four games with a knee injury and there has been talk of shutting down Jackson for the remainder of the season.
The season has been an incredible disappointment for Jackson. After missing the first 21 games of the season with knee tendinitis, he has never been able to get back into the swing of things. Jackson has lacked the explosiveness that his game relies so heavily on.
What makes matters worse is his teammates have apparently questioned his effort on the defensive end of the floor. While Jackson has never been an elite defender by any means, his play of the defensive end this year has been consistent with some of the NBA’s worst defenders. How much of this can be blamed on his knee issue is hard to tell, but it is certainly a factor.
In more bad news for the Pistons, starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was arrested early Wednesday morning following the team’s defeat to the Heat. Caldwell-Pope was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
As president of basketball operations and coach, Stan Van Gundy has all the power in his hands. At this point in the season, it’s far too late for any real change. This coming offseason, expect Van Gundy to makes some moves to improve the locker room chemistry.