Injuries give Pistons little margin for error – and they make too many in loss to Wizards
Three quick observations from Monday night’s 115-99 loss to the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena
NO MARGIN FOR ERROR – One comeback, OK. Two, a little too much. Especially for a team down four key players, including Blake Griffin and each of its three point guards. The Pistons simply have a thin margin for error without that much firepower and they made errors in bunches against the Wizards. They turned a low-energy start – replete with porous defense and lax defensive rebounding – into a 17-point deficit through 18 minutes, then flipped a switch and outscored the Wizards 24-9 over the next five-plus minutes to pull within two points at halftime. But the third quarter sunk them into a deep hole again, trailing by 15 when it ended. Three-point shooting kept the Pistons in the game early when they had nothing else to fall back on and they finished 13 of 27 after going 9 of 15 in the first half with triples from six players, including two apiece from Tony Snell, Christian Wood and Langston Galloway. But Washington used Pistons turnovers and offensive rebounds to hold a 15-shot advantage over them through three quarters before the Pistons got a little busier on the backboards in the fourth quarter to close the margin in second-chance points – the Wizards held a 17-2 edge in building a 93-78 lead through three quarters – to 19-11. Luke Kennard led the Pistons with 24 points, one of five players in double figures.
A STEP SIDEWAYS? – After a rousing first game as emergency starting point guard, Bruce Brown got off to a rough start the second time around but – like his team – got better after a rocky start. Brown played a career-high 40 minutes and scored a career-high 22 points with seven assists and zero turnovers in Saturday’s win over Brooklyn. A strong fourth quarter in which he scored nine points boosted Brown’s final numbers. He had no points or assists in the first quarter, then chalked up five points and four assists in the second – almost all of it during the 24-9 run that started on Brown’s 3-pointer – and finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three blocked shots. The third came early in the third quarter and was originally ruled a foul on a 3-point attempt from Isaiah Thomas. Brown encouraged a coach’s challenge, Casey complied and the call was overturned. The Pistons were once again without the three point guards who comprise their depth chart at the position: Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier. Rose and Frazier are basically day to day, Rose with hamstring soreness and Frazier a right shoulder strain, while Jackson will be re-evaluated in late November. After his clean turnover game against Brooklyn, Brown contributed four to the Pistons’ exorbitant total at Washington.
STREAK SNAPPED – Andre Drummond logged three consecutive 20-20 games last week and four in the season’s first seven games for the Pistons, but came up five points short of making it four straight. Drummond had zero points and four rebounds in the first quarter, then played a big role as the Pistons erased all but two of a 17-point deficit in the latter half of the second quarter to get to halftime with nine points and 11 rebounds. He got to 20 rebounds comfortably, crossing that threshold with eight minutes left in the game. It wasn’t for lack of opportunity that he struggled to get to 20 points. Drummond finished with 20 shot attempts, but made just six. The Pistons again had to play Drummond heavy minutes, 40. In his eight minutes, Thon Maker finished minus-13 in his eight minutes of play and had no points or rebounds.The Pistons also didn’t get much from their starting power forward, Markieff Morris. In early foul trouble, he finished with just four points and two rebounds in 14 minutes. Christian Wood scored 13 first-half points and finished with 15.