Another day, another frustrating loss for the boys from the Motor City. Detroit led by as many as 14 points on the night but ended up falling 109-106 to the Charlotte Hornets thanks to a Malik Monk three at the buzzer. After a night to reflect, let’s run through the three makes and three misses from this frustrating defeat.
First Make: Langston Galloway Scorched The Earth
No blame for the loss should be placed on the shoulders of Galloway after his performance last night. Continuing to build on what has been a quietly solid season, Galloway exploded last night.
The sixth year guard out of St. Joseph went off for a career high 32 points on 11-17 shooting. Galloway went 7-11 from deep, spacing the floor and coming off screens to let his lightning-quick shot go.
Often the target of ire from Pistons fans, Galloway has been much more consistent this season, shooting an impressive 46.2% from behind the long line. As this team looks to mesh together and right the ship, shooting like Galloway’s can only help.
First Miss: Rough Nights For Blake And Luke
The return of Blake Griffin was something Pistons fans were anxiously awaiting, as his presence would hopefully be what was necessary to help turn things around. Unfortunately, in games where he has played, Detroit is now 0-2.
Griffin struggled last night, showing the rust many would expect to see as he looks to get back into game shape. Although he ended the night with 19 points, the former Sooner shot 6-19 from the floor and 1-8 from deep in what was a rough night to say the least.
Luke Kennard was also second-rate last night. His stat line of 5/5/5 certainly doesn’t jump off the screen and neither did his performance. After taking 21 shots just three games ago against Minnesota, Kennard only attempted 5 last night. He was a complete non-factor and it’s frustrating that Casey didn’t do more to get him going.
Second Make: Strong First Half
It may not have mattered in the end, but Detroit posted a solid first half last night. Given the frustration from last night’s result, this positive has definitely been lost in the shuffle.
As a team that has started slow on multiple occasions this season, last night was not the case for the Pistons. The team shot 54.5% from the floor, 50% from deep (9-18), and out-rebounded the Hornets 26-17.
While Blake Griffin faltered, Andre Drummond, Derrick Rose, and Langston Galloway were all in double figures after the first 24 minutes. Drummond quietly finished the night with 16 points and 20 rebounds, at some points looking like the only Piston capable of grabbing a board as the game progressed.
Yes, the Pistons lost last night, but the first two quarters were moments that showed why this team could still make some noise this year. However, the most frustrating part of it all is that those moments have been few and far between this year.
Second Miss: Turnovers
I’m looking at you, Derrick Rose. Detroit coughed up the ball 19 times last night, with Rose leading the way with 6. In what has become a concerning development, Rose has made questionable decisions with the ball late into multiple games this season.
Of Detroit’s 19 turnovers, 17 of them were caused by four players. Rose led the way with 6, Griffin and Drummond both had 4, and Markieff Morris chipped in with 3 of his own. All four of these players have seen significant minutes so far this season, and high turnover numbers like this are alarming.
Charlotte on the other hand only turned the ball over 10 times. Miles Bridges led the team with 3, and Malik Monk’s 2 made them the only Hornets with more than one turnover. If Detroit wants to turn things around, the turnovers have to be addressed.
Third Make: The End of Thon Maker?
Normally, I don’t enjoy seeing one player get singled out relentlessly. But I have to make an exception for Thon Maker. The bane of Pistons Twitter, Maker has been poor this season. Fans have been calling for him to be traded/released/benched/all of the above and it appears Dwane Casey took a step in that direction last night.
Of the Pistons that saw playing time yesterday, Maker received the least. The fourth-year big man played three minutes last night, failing to make any sort of an impact.
So far this year, Maker has posted a +/- of -40. That mark is the second-worst of his career bested only by his 2017-18 season when he posted a horrifying -162. I warned POP readers that this season may be the last we see of Thon Maker, and it looks like his play is justifying my worries.
Third Miss: Christian Wood’s Consistency
A quick look at the box score would leave most fans wondering why Christian Wood didn’t get more minutes last night.
In six minutes yesterday, Wood tallied five points, connecting on a three, and grabbing a rebound. However, the former Runnin’ Rebel couldn’t secure a rebound in the fourth quarter. Seemingly unable to boxout, Wood was benched by Dwane Casey.
Moments like this are perhaps the most frustrating things to see from Wood. It’s already clear he’s on a relatively short leash under Casey and mistakes like failing to boxout and grab simple rebounds just make it shorter. The stretch big has shown he can be a meaningful contributor for Detroit, but he needs to improve defensively and on the glass to see more minutes.
The Pistons have four days to get right before they head to the United Center to face the Bulls. Hopefully, the time off can help to turn this slow start around.
Featured Image: Nell Redmond, AP