Giveaways cripple Pistons as Charlotte wins with a dagger at the buzzer
Kent Smith (NBAE/Getty)
CHARLOTTE – Getting everybody back – well, as close as the Pistons are going to get for the foreseeable future, at least – is one thing. Getting everybody on the same page is proving to be quite another.
The Pistons got both Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose back in the lineup Friday, but with them came a combined 10 turnovers. The Pistons, 25th in the NBA in turnovers at 17.5 a game, committed 21 in Friday’s 109-106 loss at Charlotte. The last one came with a second left and was nothing short of devastating. Not only did it prevent the Pistons from getting up a shot to win the game, it gave Charlotte enough time to draw up an inbounds play that produced a 26-foot buzzer beater for Malik Monk.
It was Rose’s turnover, his sixth. The Pistons had gotten the ball back with 23 seconds left – after a Marvin Williams 3-pointer off of Charlotte’s 11th offensive rebound of the second half – and elected not to call timeout with the score tied. Rose penetrated down the left side of the lane, went airborne and flung the ball to the right wing – where no teammate was stationed.
“It hurt a lot,” Rose said as the Pistons fell to 4-9. “But I’ll take the blame for tonight. Late turnovers. Turnovers. I’ll figure it out.”
The dreary second half – in addition to the 12 turnovers committed and the 11 offensive rebounds allowed, the Pistons saw Charlotte knock down 10 of 21 3-point shots and outscore them 58-41 after they scored a season-high 65 points in the first half – sent the Pistons into a four-day break, their longest of the season outside of the All-Star break, on a bitter note.
“It hurts,” Dwane Casey admitted. “Our same bugaboo – we turn it over 21 times for 27 points. We’ve got to correct that if we’re serious about winning. And we will. But it hurts because we shot the ball – 50 percent, 43 percent from the three – but you can’t give up 27 points (off of turnovers) and 14 offensive rebounds, 17 second-chance points. That’s the ballgame.”
The loss overshadowed a brilliant game from Langston Galloway, who scored 15 first-half points and – starting the second half for Tony Snell, who exacerbated a hip flexor strain and was limited to nine first-half minutes – finished with a career-high 32, hitting 11 of 16 shots and 7 of 11 from the 3-point arc.
“I can’t really say it was good or nothing like that,” Galloway said. “We lost. We’ve got to get back in the gym tomorrow, find a way to figure out how we can cut these turnovers down. That was the biggest thing tonight.”
Rose pointed to a lingering unfamiliarity with his teammates, a transition phase prolonged by his absence in five of the first 13 games due to a hamstring injury.
“I’m just overthinking,” he said. “My thing is getting my turnovers down. I’m trying to think about the passes that I threw. How can I change them? I’ll be able to change that whenever I look at film, but that’s what’s on my mind right now.”
“I would say driving into the crowd, playing in a crowd,” Casey said of the most persistent issue with turnovers. “Getting too deep and then trying to make a play at the rim and losing it. Trying to go one on one, losing it that way. I loved some of our kickouts.”
The Pistons started the game dominantly, leading 24-10 after eight minutes. It began to turn when Drummond went to the bench with two fouls after nine minutes and the Hornets started getting inside at will, scoring 32 first-half points in the paint. But a zone defense helped the Pistons re-establish their 14-point lead at halftime.
Then the Hornets matched their first-half total of three 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the second half to get back into it in a hurry. They took their first lead with 10 minutes to play and went up by eight before the midway point of the quarter. The Pistons tied it on Rose’s triple with 2:22 left and went ahead on Galloway’s three with 50 seconds to go.
The last 50 seconds encapsulated the game: a Charlotte offensive rebound led to Williams’ tying triple, a Pistons turnover led to Monk’s game winner.
“We had our play that we wanted to run in,” Casey said of the failed last possession. “Derrick got up in there, had the corner open and he threw it to the slot. The same play that Andre had just made to (Galloway) in the corner where we scored. I can’t fault Derrick. He got in the paint. He got where he wanted to go, but just did not make the right decision on his kickout.”
Griffin finished with 19, though shot just 6 of 19 and only 1 of 8 from the 3-point arc, and Rose 16, while Andre Drummond added 16 points and 20 rebounds. They had enough to win but squandered their shot with too many unforced errors and too many chances allowed for Charlotte.
“I like our team, the heart that we showed to get back in after they took the lead,” Casey said. “We made our run down the stretch, but turnovers is our bugaboo. We played well enough to win, but you cannot give up 27 points on turnovers.”