Wins have been very hard to come by for the Detroit Pistons this season. They found a highly improbable way to lose on Monday and enter their home game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday with a six-game losing streak.
Detroit led the Los Angeles Clippers by 14 points with three minutes remaining but got outscored 16-2 the remainder of regulation. Los Angeles then dominated the overtime session and stole a 142-131 victory.
“We needed that win right there to get our spirit back. We didn’t finish the game out,” Pistons forward/center Isaiah Stewart said. “That’s not on coaches. That’s on us. We took the lead for granted. They took their starters out.”
Since the 1996-97 season, only two other teams had erased deficits of 14 points or more in the last three minutes, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The Clippers had only one starter on the floor during a majority of the comeback.
“We fought our way back, got the lead, got a comfortable lead with three minutes to go and they threw in the towel,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We have to learn how to win. …
“It hurt. It should hurt because the guys played their hearts out to put themselves in a position to win.”
The Pistons wiped out a 15-point, third-quarter deficit and scored 13 unanswered points during the fourth quarter to build the 14-point advantage. They had eight players score in double figures, led by Bojan Bogdanovic with 23 points. Bogdanovic missed a potential winning shot in the final second of regulation.
“We’ve got to learn from it. We’ve got to prop ourselves back up,” Casey said. “We can’t pull the blanket over our head and say, ‘Woe is me,’ because no one is going to feel sorry for you. We have a team coming in here that’s playing very well.”
The Pistons, who play their next five games on the road after Wednesday, won their season opener against the Magic 113-109 behind a 24-point performance from Bogdanovic. They will play the remaining games of the four-game season series in Orlando on Feb. 23 and April 2.
Orlando will be playing the tail end of a back-to-back set on Wednesday. After winning eight of the previous nine games, the Magic were pummeled at home by the Los Angeles Lakers 129-110 on Tuesday.
The Lakers led by as many as 21 points while shooting 54.4 percent. The Magic, who also got outrebounded 46-37, never held a lead of more than three points.
“No defense,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Our ability to not get back in transition, we allowed our shot-making to impact the way we defended. Give the Lakers a ton of credit. … but that was not our brand of basketball — and we’ll be better (Wednesday).”
Top overall draft pick Paolo Banchero will look to bounce back from the worst game of his young career. The Orlando forward scored a season-low four points on 1-for-6 shooting and committed five fouls.
“These are the experiences all young players are going to have to go through,” Mosley said, “so he can look back and reflect on these situations.”
Markelle Fultz led Orlando with 16 points against the Lakers, and five of his teammates also finished in double figures.
The Magic are 4-12 on the road this season, and the Pistons are 4-13 at home.
–Field Level Media