The Detroit Pistons hoped they were turning things around after a surprisingly convincing win last weekend, but they weren’t nearly as good their last time out.
Facing another struggling team may help them get back on track.
Detroit seeks its sixth victory in the last seven meetings with the visiting Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
The Pistons (2-10) lost nine of their first 10 games before routing Boston 103-83 on Sunday behind a solid performance from Greg Monroe. They couldn’t carry over that momentum, though, shooting a season-low 32.9 percent in a 90-74 loss to Orlando on Wednesday.
Detroit held a three-point edge at halftime, but allowed Orlando to open the third on a 21-0 run and ended up scoring eight points and shooting 2 of 21 in the quarter.
“I wish I could explain it to you,” coach Lawrence Frank said. “I didn’t like the way we played there and then to open the third quarter was embarrassing.”
Monroe scored a game-high 19 points and is averaging 20.3 on 58.0 percent shooting with 11.5 rebounds over his last four games. Rodney Stuckey added 13 points off the bench for the Pistons, who joined winless Washington as the only teams with 10 defeats.
“I think we lost our focus and what we need to do to win games,” Monroe said. “The things that have happened these last couple of games is on us.”
Frank couldn’t come close to finding a suitable lineup in the second half and may consider some changes going forward.
“You’re constantly trying to find different answers, putting guys in there to see if they can bring something different to the game,” Frank told the team’s official website. “There were a ton of changes (Wednesday). Don’t get caught up in the semantics of who’s starting. You’re looking to see anyone who could bring what you thought the game needed.”
Toronto (3-9) hasn’t been much better, though the league did admit to a missed call in the closing seconds of Wednesday’s 98-97 loss at Charlotte that could’ve changed the outcome.
Replays showed Andrea Bargnani was fouled attempting a jumper with 2.4 seconds left and should have been awarded two free throws, but the referees did not make a call and time expired.
Bargnani scored a game-high 25 points in the team’s second straight defeat.
“These guys played their heart out and they are hurt right now,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We have to create some breaks for ourselves. I thought we shot ourselves in the foot with some mental mistakes that we made as far as turnovers are concerned.”
Kyle Lowry, who added 21 points and eight assists in his second game back – and first start – since missing six games with a sprained ankle, said Toronto is capable of playing much better.
“It’s very frustrating. We’re working so hard,” Lowry said. “But we’ve got to get better. Our 3-9 record doesn’t show how good of a team we are. We’re better than 3-9.”
The Raptors haven’t been very good recently against the Pistons, dropping five of the last six matchups after 17 rebounds from Monroe helped Detroit win 76-73 in the most recent meeting April 22.
The pre-game a game like this deserves.