Pistons go with same lineup following blowout loss

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Celtics center Al Horford drives on Pistons center Aron Baynes during the first half.

Auburn Hills — Despite threats of change, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy decided to stick with his same starting lineup following Friday night’s ugly loss to the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Van Gundy said before Saturday night’s game against the Boston Celtics at The Palace that he needed more time to consider potential shuffling.

So forwards Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris, guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith, and center Andre Drummond were to be the starting five again.

“My staff, their point was, ‘Take tomorrow and think about it,’ ” Van Gundy said. “Right now, having time to think is hard.

“I guess we’ll think about it a little tomorrow.”

The back-to-back games didn’t allow Van Gundy what he considers the proper amount of time to ponder such significant decisions, as the Pistons continue to wait for point guard Reggie Jackson to return from his battle with knee tendinitis.

In his absence, offensive ball movement has been mostly a struggle, especially lately, outside of a good showing on the road against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Pistons lost to the Cavaliers, 104-81, on Friday night. They shot just 31.2 percent from the field (29-for-93) in their lowest scoring output this season.

The schedule has been a real grind lately; this is the second consecutive week the Pistons have played Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. And they have the same schedule next week. That means practices are becoming limited, and that could be starting to show, especially with some of the younger guys, such as Harris, who scored nine on 3-for-10 shooting in Friday’s loss.

“I was talking to Tobias. You can see the difference as we get less and less practice time here,” Van Gundy said a couple hours before tip-off Saturday. “Our habits aren’t good enough right now to carry us through.”

Van Gundy said if you’re going to make a lineup change, you want to be able to install them in a morning walk-through, and talk to the team. The Pistons, traveling late Friday night, didn’t have that Saturday, and instead just had a late-afternoon walk-through.

So for now, changes remain on hold.

Slam dunks

Van Gundy wasn’t pleased with much from Friday night’s blowout loss, but he called the defensive rebounding — a point of emphasis in practices leading up to the game — some of the best, if not the best, he’s seen all season.

... The Celtics on Saturday night welcomed Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle) back to the starting lineup. They’ve been sidelined most of the month.