After a 4-0 start, the Pistons are reeling, suffering their second straight overtime loss, to the Heat on Monday night. Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Detroit — Different lineup, same result.
Coach Dwane Casey tweaked the starting lineup, inserting Glenn Robinson III to replace Stanley Johnson at small forward to try to jump-start the Pistons’ stagnant offense.
Robinson was effective, but the Pistons fell into a familiar lull in the third quarter and regrouped in the fourth period to force overtime, but fell short against the Miami Heat in a 120-115 loss on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Robinson (16 points) had an open look at a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the extra period, but his shot was off the mark. The Heat (4-5) made their free throws down the stretch, preserving the win and ending their three-game skid.
The Pistons (4-5) lost their fifth straight game and are in a freefall after a 4-0 start.
“It’s very difficult; guys played their hearts out. We knew this season we were going to have a lot of games like this,” Casey said. “Again, it seems trite, but we are right there.”
Pistons coach says there are some positives to take from the team's recent skid Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Andre Drummond had 25 points and 24 rebounds — his fourth 20-20 game of the season — and Blake Griffin added 24 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists and Langston Galloway 21 points to help the effort.
“A lot of guys had it going today … this was our most complete game as far as the team,” said Griffin, who fouled out with 48.7 seconds left in regulation. “We didn’t get the win but a lot of guys played well.”
Jackson (25 points) scored on a floater and jumper in the final two minutes of regulation, to complete a 10-3 run that turned a 10-point deficit into a 104-101 game. Goran Dragic (21 points) made one of two free throws and Drummond had two tip-ins in the final 21 seconds — including the tying basket with 0.5 seconds left in regulation.
The Pistons moved ahead, 109-107 after a jumper by Robinson and a floater by Jackson, who had seven points of the Pistons’ 10 points in overtime.
Josh Richardson (27 points and eight rebounds) took control in overtime for the Heat, scoring nine points, including seven straight of their last nine down the stretch. His jumper with 1:42 left in overtime tied it at 113 after Jackson had hit 3-pointer off a nice pass from Drummond.
Jackson scored on a drive for a two-point lead but Richardson put the Heat ahead for good with a 3-pointer with 1:05 left.
Robinson’s open look at a corner 3-pointer in the final seconds missed and the Heat got the rebound. The Pistons fouled and Bam Adebayo made two free throws with 1.7 seconds left; Richardson added two more free throws for the final margin.
"I'll take Glenn Robinson's look right there at the end to put us up, any time of the day," Casey said. "I just looked at it — he was wide open, he was 2-for-3 at the time. So could have, would have, should have ... we got our situation now where we have to continue to fight, continue to stay together, because that's what this league is going to be about the rest of hte year."
Here are some other observations from Monday’s matchup:
1. Adding Robinson to the starting lineup looked to work out, as he added some needed scoring punch with 16 points. More than that, Robinson brought energy and 3-point shooting, hitting 2-of-4 and providing a deep threat that Johnson hadn’t brought on a consistent basis. It’s not clear whether it’s a permanent switch but at least for one game, there was a different look in the middle quarters with the first unit.
“I knew I when I came here in free agency that I could contribute to this team. I talked to coach Casey and he was the first coach I had talked to in the summer during that free-agency time,” Robinson said. “He expressed to me what my role would be and that there was going to be some competition in the wing spot, but he saw some opportunity for me.”
2. Galloway was very good off the bench, getting aggressive on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers and hitting a season-high four from beyond the arc. Getting quicker and better looks was a point of emphasis since the loss to the Sixers on Saturday and Galloway responded. He added nine rebounds and four assists and was active on and off the ball. It’s the spark the Pistons needed on the offensive end, but they didn’t get other contributions to augment his hot third quarter.
3. Rookie Bruce Brown had his least effective game, getting another start for the injured Reggie Bullock (sprained ankle), who missed his second straight game. The Pistons may move to Galloway as the starter until Bullock and Luke Kennard (shoulder sprain) return to the lineup. Brown finished scoreless, missing his only shot attempt, with just one rebound and two fouls in 12 minutes.
4. Drummond had another good statistical game, going 11-of-19 from the field but took some inefficient shot attempts. He’s getting more paint touches but when a double-team comes or he’s at a bad angle to the rim, he often forced the ball and took ill-advised shots. It’s becoming a more frequent occurrence as he tries to get better looks at the basket but when they’re resulting in turnovers or bad shots, they’re hurting the effort.
5. Griffin and Reggie Jackson said they texted after the loss to the Nets last week to try to get on the same page about how they would share the ball. Monday’s game showed the fruits of some of that conversation. Jackson looked freer and more composed in running pick-and-rolls with Griffin and Drummond and he seemed more comfortable running the offense.
“(It was) going over end-of-game stuff and just encouragement, saying that we would figure things out,” Griffin said. “At the time, we were six or seven games in, so it was great to see them down the stretch get to the things they wanted and execute.”