Detroit Pistons spend three practices focused on fourth quarters, get blown out in fourth quarter
On Dec. 30, the Pistons were outscored 28-12 in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Washington Wizards. After the game, Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks said, via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
Five off days – and three practices devoted to fourth-quarter struggles later, according to David Mayo of MLive – not much has changed. Not even Cheeks’ answers.Sunday, the Pistons were outscored 33-17 in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. John Niyo of The Detroit News:
Cheeks held a question-and-answer session with his players before holding his usual shrug-fest with the media.
“I wasn’t necessarily talking about what happened,” the coach explained. “I was just trying to get some insight for myself. Because I didn’t have the insight this time. Normally I do. This time I didn’t.”
The Pistons are the NBA’s worst fourth-quarter team:
They’re both bad defensively and horrific offensively in the final period:
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Yet, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what goes wrong for Detroit late in games.
Maybe Brandon Jennings shoots too much down the stretch. Maybe the Pistons’ league-worst free-throw shooting matters more late. Maybe Cheeks just gets out-coached as teams make in-game adjustments.
Whatever the reason, the Pistons clearly didn’t find it in their long break. Now, they’ll need to search on the fly, and for a team that made no apparent progress with the luxury of three practices and five off days, that’s not encouraging.