Philadelphia — If Pistons fans want the good news, their team played the Philadelphia 76ers to a tie over the game's last 41 minutes Wednesday night.
But after falling behind by 20 in the first seven minutes to the league's most underwhelming team, the Pistons got exactly what they deserved in their fourth straight loss, a 89-69 beating at Wells Fargo Center.
For a team such as the 76ers to take such a huge advantage, many disastrous things have to occur, especially considering this team hadn't taken a 20-point lead at all this season.
Andre Drummond foul trouble? Check.
Four turnovers in a four-minute span? Check.
A team playing four games in five nights? You get the picture.
"I don't know what you (media) want me to say after that," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said with a smile of weariness and frustration before he answered questions after possibly his worst loss as Pistons coach.
"We weren't ready to play. I never coached a game where one team's effort was that much better than my team's effort. It was a joke. They played so much harder."
With their previous two losses coming against top Eastern Conference competition in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, one would expect the Pistons to put together a better effort against a team with just eight wins.
"They ran harder. They cut harder. They defended harder. They were into us more," Van Gundy said. "They went to the boards harder. ... I told them I'm embarrassed as a coach that I did that poor a job and if they're not embarrassed they don't belong in the NBA."
The 76ers scored on eight straight possessions to go on an 18-0 run and take a 24-4 lead.
The Pistons committed 20 turnovers, and were outrebounded 48-38. Their scoring output was their lowest since Feb. 28, 2012, and their 31-percent shooting was their worst since Dec. 23, 2009.
"It's frustrating. We have to come out and play hard. They want to win more than us," said Greg Monroe, who scored 20 with 11 rebounds. "If you lose for other reasons (is one thing), but to come out and not play, it is. It's frustrating and embarrassing."
Monroe was just as frustrated. Getting a brief whiff of the postseason, he believes, got the Pistons a little satisfied.
"It seems like (when) we had nothing to lose, it was easy," Monroe said. "Now that we've actually put ourselves in position to do something, I think we kind of lost focus. I think we have to get that hunger back."
Shooting just 31 percent was just part of the Pistons' problem, as Jodie Meeks' best scoring output of the month was marred by one of his worst shooting nights (4 for 16) of the month — never mind he's just shooting 35 percent in January.
D.J. Augustin, who came in averaging 27 points in his first two games as starting point guard since Brandon Jennings' Achilles injury, crashed back to earth by missing all seven of his field-goal attempts and committing three turnovers.
"I mean, you can always make more shots," Monroe said. "But the total effort, that's what it was tonight. Guys miss shots. People miss shots. Some games you're a little off. Tonight was about effort."
The Pistons shot 2 for 20 on 3-pointers, mere moments after Van Gundy said he liked the shot distribution and where their shots were coming from.
"I can live with that. I mean, it's terrible," Van Gundy said of his wing players shooting 8-for-44 from the field. "We probably can't win with that. But I can live with that. The lack of effort and the lack of force to take care of the ball (are the real problems)."
Their lone bright spot, Monroe, had 20 points and 11 rebounds, but did all his damage in the first three quarters. After the Pistons mounted a brief comeback after halftime, cutting the lead to 59-50, simple plays such as post-entry passes became a task too difficult for their perimeter players to execute.
Six 76ers scored in double figures, including point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who came up two rebounds shy of a triple-double with 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Robert Covington led the 76ers with 19 points, and the 76ers shot 47 percent from the field.
The good news? For Pistons fans, there is no good news.