Technical difficulties: Pistons teed off about getting teed up league-high 15 times

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Referee Scott Foster talks with Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey and guard Reggie Bullock during the second half Monday night.

Auburn Hills – What in the name of Rasheed Wallace is going on here?

The 2018-19 Detroit Pistons, not the Bad Boys Pistons or the Going to Work Pistons, presently lead the NBA in technical fouls. They picked up four in the fourth quarter Monday against the Cavaliers -- when they were up by 28 points – to run their season total to 15.

“We haven’t established ourselves well enough to even get those,” coach Dwane Casey said after the team’s short practice Tuesday. “You have to be under control and understand how to communicate with officials.

“We have the best officials in the world and we have to make sure we communicate and talk to them because most officials will help you if you talk to them in the right way.”

Casey addressed the situation after the win Monday and again Tuesday morning.

“Officials are human,” he said. “We talked this morning about treating them with respect and using the human element as far as talking to them the way you want them to talk to you. That’s all you can ask.”

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Blake Griffin also spoke up, holding himself accountable for perhaps setting the tone for the rash of techs.

“I always like us to stand up for ourselves," Griffin said after the game Monday night. "But you are never going to beat the power of the whistle. I got three bad techs in the fourth quarter earlier in the season and I set a bad precedent. 

"We can't have that, especially in the second half and fourth quarter."

Andre Drummond leads the team and the league with eight techs. Griffin and backup point guard Ish Smith have three.

“It’s weird,” Smith said. “I am usually the good guy. I don’t know what the refs see in me this year.”

He said that with a chuckle, but fact is, he had just one technical foul in 486 games prior to this season.

“We do have to stop,” Smith said. “It’s getting a little out of hand. We have to clean it up and be responsible. You have to be a little more politically correct when you speak to them. They’re human beings. So you have to respect them, respect the game and respect the league.

“Last night was outrageous. That can cost you a game. And that’s something we can control.”

Some of the increased tension between the players and officials could stem from the new freedom of movement rules emphases the league has adapted this season. A lot of the physicality on and off the ball has been legislated out of the game.

“We’ve got to adjust to that,” Smith said. “Especially me. I’ve been getting a lot of fouls on pick-and-roll, catch-and-shoot situations. Simply because in the past you could be a little more physical. I have to use my speed more.

“With these freedom of movement rules, I need to adjust. But even still, we have to control our emotions. We’ve got to take responsibility for ourselves. That’s something we can control.”

None of the Pistons technical fouls came from overly demonstrative protests Monday night. But Casey explained that lead official Scott Foster warned both teams to stop complaining.

“Once he does that, then if you say anything they have more leeway to call the tech,” Casey said. “We have to be more under control because we are going to be in a lot of close games. Whether we want to be or not.

“So let’s make sure we keep our composure and our professionalism.”

Twitter @cmccosky