The Detroit Pistons want to get their perimeter shooters, at least the healthy ones, more involved in the offense when they host Chicago on Saturday.
They lost a 115-112 overtime decision to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, two nights after they rallied for a 115-113 victory at Cleveland.
Detroit attempted just 20 3-pointers in the rematch and made six. Wing players Tony Snell, Svi Mykhaliuk and Langston Galloway were a combined 3-for-11 from beyond the arc.
“They’re struggling a little bit,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We want to attack the paint – multiple paint touches – and we did get into the paint. But we’ve got to make sure we continue to see the kickouts. I think the basket looks so wide open that we forget that those kickouts are there and the right people are in those spots. We’ve got to continue to look for that.”
Detroit’s top scoring wing, Luke Kennard (15.8 points per game), hasn’t played since Dec. 21 due to bilateral knee soreness. The Pistons’ star forward, Blake Griffin, recently underwent knee surgery and is out indefinitely. Point guard Reggie Jackson (back) has missed all but two games this season and forward Marcus Morris (foot) is also on the mend.
“We’ve still got a lot of guys that can shoot the three ball,” center Andre Drummond told the team’s website. “Obviously, our main guys that shoot the ball are out right now.”
Drummond and sixth man Derrick Rose have carried the offense in recent games. Drummond recorded his seventh 20-20 game of the season (28 points, 23 rebounds) on Thursday after posting 23 points and 20 rebounds in Tuesday’s victory.
Rose is averaging 25.2 points and 4.8 assists over the past four games. He attempted 24 shots, mostly drives to the basket and mid-range jumpers, while scoring 27 points on Thursday.
Rose has averaged 20.5 points and 4.5 assists this season against the team that drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2008. However, the Bulls can sweep the four-game season series with a victory on Saturday.
In the most recent meeting on Dec. 21, Chicago was carried to a 119-107 win by Zach LaVine, who scored 33 points.
The Bulls, who have lost six straight, have their own injury concerns. Starting forward Otto Porter Jr. has missed most of the season with a foot ailment and center Wendell Carter Jr. was diagnosed this week with a severe right ankle sprain. Carter is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He suffered the injury in a loss to Dallas on Monday.
He was limited to 44 games last season as a rookie due to a thumb injury.
“It’s probably the worst pain I’ve endured playing basketball,” Carter said of the ankle sprain. “While I was laying down on the ground, I’m like, ‘Man, this is the exact time I was hurt last year and it affected a lot of stuff for myself and my team at this point.’ That’s why I want to come back sooner rather than later, so I can help my team.”
Chicago lost at home to Indiana on Friday, 116-105, despite LaVine’s 43-point outburst. The Bulls need to tighten their defense, as they allowed Indiana to shoot 57.1 percent.
–Field Level Media