My Detroit Sports: #MyPistons Weekly #13

The 13th #MyPistons Weekly finds Detroit a season high nine games under .500. At 30-39, they are 6.5 games back of the 8th and final playoff spot with only 13 games left to play. The road woes continued with 3 losses in Utah, Denver, and Portland.

The Pistons made their only trip to Utah to face the Jazz on Tuesday. Reggie Bullock was unavailable due to a back injury suffered in a car accident. The Jazz took advantage with a 42 point 1st quarter and 21 point lead. They shot an incredible 17-21 from the field on their way to a 55% night from the floor. Poor shooting once again doomed the Pistons as they went 30-80 and only 5-25 from behind the 3 point line. The Jazz were able to maintain and build on their lead as the Pistons fell 110-79. Luke Kennard led the Pistons with 18 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin had 13 points a piece, with Drummond adding 11 rebounds.

The Pistons then traveled to Denver to face the Nuggets on Thursday. Due to the high altitude, the Nuggets perennially have an advantage at home. This season is no different as they 26 of their 31 wins coming into this game have come at the Pepsi Center. The Pistons traded single possession leads until the end of the first quarter. That’s when Devin Harris took over. He scored 5 straight points to end the quarter and added 2 more as part of an 11-0 Denver run that turned a 1 point Piston lead into a 10 point deficit. Harris, Will Barton, and Trey Lyles combined for 24 of Denver’s 32 points in the quarter as the the Nuggets took a 14 point lead into the half. The Nuggets lead by as many as 26 before three consecutive 3 point shots, 2 by Blake Griffin, fueled a 14-2 run to trim the lead to 14 points headed into the 4th quarter. The Pistons cut the lead to 5 before Michigan State product Gary Harris’ field goal and 3 point play gave Denver a double digit cushion. The Pistons could get no closer than 6 points the rest of the way as they fell 120-113. Blake Griffin had 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists. Andre Drummond had 21 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Dwight Buycks added 22 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals off the bench. Denver was lead by Nikola Jokic’s triple double. He had 23 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals.

On Saturday night the Pistons played the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers came into this game in 3rd place in the Western Conference and with an 11 game winning streak. In a repeat of Tuesday, the Blazers used a 16-5 run to build a double digit 1st quarter lead they would not relinquish. The Pistons pulled to within 6, but the Blazers responded with a 24-10 run that extended the deficit to 17. The Pistons would not get to within single digits again, falling by a final score of 100-87. Although Detroit shot 40% from beyond the arc, they once again shot under 40% overall from the floor. Andre Drummond led the way with 18 points and 22 rebounds. Blake Griffin had 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. The Pistons held All-Star Damian Lillard to 6-19 shooting, but he finished with 24 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks as all 5 Blazers starters scored in double figures. The game was not without controversy, as Stan Van Gundy’s comments about the officiating led to a fine from the league.

With a 9-25 road record, the Pistons desperately need wins against the Kings on Monday and the Suns on Tuesday. The road trip will finish Thursday night against the league leading Houston Rockets. The Pistons then come home to face the Chicago Bulls at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday. With only 13 games remaining, time is running out before they’re officially eliminated from playoff contention.

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