The Detroit Pistons are going for the record on Sunday. It’s not something they want to own.
Detroit tied the franchise record for most consecutive losses in a single season on Saturday, losing 116-107 at home to Houston for their 14th straight loss. They will set a mark if they can’t get past the visiting Miami Heat on Sunday.
The Pistons previously dropped 14 in a row in the 1979-80 season and again in the 1993-94 season. The current group hasn’t tasted victory since Nov. 17, when it defeated Indiana.
The Rockets didn’t have any difficulty collecting their third road victory of the season on Saturday. They were up by double digits most of the way with the aid of 21 Detroit turnovers, which they turned into 22 points.
“The NBA speeds you up sometimes,” said Pistons coach Dwane Casey, who returned after a one-game absence due to personal reasons. “That’s something you’ve got to get ready for mentally, not try to do too much. Sometimes you’ve just got to move (the ball). Twenty-one turnovers, you’re not going to beat anybody in the NBA when you turn it over that many times. A lot of them are self-inflicted. We’ve got to get those down to 10, maybe 13 max.”
Detroit also allowed Houston to shoot 49.5 percent from the field, with the worst damage coming early when the Pistons gave up 38 first-quarter points.
“Too many blow-bys,” Casey said. “We had 10 blow-bys in the first half. The game was decided in the first quarter, how we defended the drives.”
Saddiq Bey continued to show signs of coming out of his shooting slump. After scoring a season-high 28 points at Indiana on Thursday, Bey led the Pistons with 23 points.
On the other side of the court, despite having numerous key players out, Miami has won four of its last five games.
The Heat will have to improvise once again on Sunday. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Markieff Morris and Victor Oladipo are sidelined by injuries, while Caleb Martin is in the league’s health and safety protocols. Tyler Herro (quad) and Marcus Garrett (eye) are listed as questionable.
Miami has gotten contributions throughout its roster to weather the injury storm. Over the last 10 games, the Heat have been led in scoring by nine different players.
Max Strus erupted for a career-high 32 points on Friday in a 115-105 triumph over Orlando. Gabe Vincent had a career-high 27 points.
“Obviously, neither one of them were selected during draft night,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It takes an incredible amount of perseverance, belief in yourself and a crazy work ethic to keep on working every single day because you have a lot more days of adversity when things aren’t necessarily going your way or you’re not getting playing time or you’re not really seeing progress.”
Miami knocked down 19 3-pointers against the Magic and have made 91 beyond the arc over the last five games, setting a franchise record.
“I think we all, whether or not we acknowledge it or talk about it every day, have that subconscious chip on our shoulder,” swingman Duncan Robinson said. “I think that compels us when we do get opportunities to make the most of them.”
–Field Level Media