“You just want to get back to playing a complete game,” Lawrence Frank said after the morning shootaround in preparation for Cleveland’s visit. “It’s an opportunity to continue to build on the good will that we have on our court.”
That’s what the Pistons have to hang their hat on right now. They haven’t completely erased the 0-8 start from their memories, but they at least have the evidence of their home winning streak that playing hard for 48 minutes keeps them in games and gives them chances to win. The Memphis-Dallas trip was disappointing, but wasn’t really a setback for their confidence in the viability of that formula.
“It’s finishing, both offensively and defensively,” Frank said. “Taking care of the ball and, as the game starts to go in another direction, having the resolve to continue to fight. We come back 0-2 on the trip – it’s disappointing – but you saw signs of building off what we had done. Now the key is to get back on track against a very hard-playing team in a similar mode as we are.”
Center Anderson Varejao, one of the few remaining holdovers from the LeBron James-era Cavaliers, epitomizes that “hard-playing” mentality. Frank went so far as to compare him to a Pistons Hall of Famer.
“I hate to use a reference of a guy who’s in the Hall of Fame, but the closest thing I can see is (Dennis) Rodman,” he said of Varejao, averaging 15 points and 15 rebounds a game. “The guy is freaking relentless. Many times, a team takes on the personality of their best player. With (point guard Kyrie) Irving being out, that team has embodied his grit and he is just relentless.”
The Pistons host Golden State on Wednesday and Chicago on Friday before hitting the road again. Tonight’s game starts a stretch of six games in nine nights.