The optimism surrounding the Detroit Pistons entering this season has been tempered by an early five-game losing streak.
In order to end the slide, they’ll have to defeat the defending champions. Detroit hosts Golden State on Sunday and will need to shore up its porous defense to have any chance of pulling an upset.
The Pistons were defeated twice at home by Atlanta this week, getting blitzed by guard Trae Young and his teammates. Young scored 35 points in the Hawks’ 118-113 victory on Wednesday, then erupted for 36 points and 12 assists in just three quarters on Friday as Atlanta rolled to a 136-112 triumph.
Coach Dwane Casey questioned his team’s defensive pride after the latest loss.
“They shot almost 57 percent and that’s just a sign of lack of commitment,” he said. “We have to make up our minds that teams aren’t going to walk in and do whatever they want to us.”
A big night for franchise player Cade Cunningham was wasted in the process. Despite foul trouble, Cunningham scored a career-best 35 points and also contributed nine rebounds and eight assists. However, his teammates shot 36.5 percent from the field.
“When things don’t go right, not making shots, it drains you a little bit but there’s no excuse for some of the things we did defensively,” Casey said.
Center Isaiah Stewart vows that the defensive lapses will decrease.
“We have to continue to get better on that side of the ball, which we will,” he said. “I’m confident in my teammates and our coaches.”
Lottery picks Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren have performed well enough during the first two weeks but Detroit needs more out of forward Saddiq Bey and the team’s bench.
Bey is averaging 14 points while shooting 31 percent on 3-point attempts.
“He started off a little slow last year as well, and I think he’s just trying to find his way and his rhythm,” Casey said.
The Pistons’ reserves were outscored by Atlanta’s bench players 53-19 on Friday.
Detroit might catch a break on Sunday. The Warriors lost in overtime at Charlotte on Saturday, 120-113. Afterward, coach Steve Kerr said he might rest some of his regulars against the Pistons.
Golden State led by four points with a minute to go in regulation but couldn’t close out the Hornets. The Warriors were outscored 13-6 in the extra session.
“We just needed one more bucket down the stretch and we couldn’t get it,” Kerr said.
Their dynamic backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson missed a combined 16 of their 20 3-point attempts.
Thompson has struggled with his shooting during the first six games. He’s made just 34.6 percent of his attempts and hasn’t reached the 20-point mark in any contest.
“He’s just got to get his legs underneath him. He only had one exhibition game, so under normal circumstances this would kind of be the end of exhibition season for him,” Kerr said. “He’s just got to stay with it and he’s going to be fine.”
The Warriors are 3-3 and still seeking their first road victory.
“Six games in, I’m not going to overreact but we’ve also got to build good habits,” forward Draymond Green said.
–Field Level Media