Casey lamented the lack of intensity and that the Thunder's defense stifled the Pistons Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Detroit — The honeymoon period with the resurgent Pistons didn’t last long.
After the Pistons dropped the Golden State Warriors on Saturday for their fifth straight win, they looked to be surging.
Not so much.
They followed their best win of the season with their worst loss of the season, a 110-83 whooping at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Blake Griffin had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists and Andre Drummond 13 points and six rebounds for the Pistons (13-8), but from the opening tip, the Pistons didn’t have the intensity to match the Thunder.
“We want to know why the fans won’t come out and trust us — we have to build that trust,” coach Dwane Casey said. “When you lay an egg like we did tonight, we’re not going to earn that trust.”
For Griffin, it was a frustrating outing, given the equity the Pistons had built with fans, especially on the current homestand and impressive wins to get back above .500.
“Coach Casey said it best: We just came out in second gear. We never got to first (gear). We never had a sense of urgency,” Griffin said. “Coach can only do so much; we as players have to be ready to come out and give a better performance, especially at the end of this long homestand.”
The Pistons had their lowest-scoring first half of the season, managing just 40 points — their previous low was 41 points, against the Celtics on Oct. 27 — while hitting 35 percent from the field. The second half didn’t go much better, as the Thunder (15-7) put the game away quickly.
With a 58-49 lead, the Thunder ran away, with a 29-10 run in the final 7:25 of the third quarter. Paul George had 10 of his 17 points and Russell Westbrook had nine of his 18 points during the spurt, as the Pistons managed just four field goals in the final 5:18, and the Thunder built an 85-59 margin.
“We scored like 19 points — and that’s self-explanatory. Against a team list that, you have to play with force on the offensive end and you have to play with a sense of toughness,” Casey said. “Tonight, for whatever reason, we didn’t do that. It’s on me.”
The start to the game wasn’t much better for the Pistons, who shot 8-of-27 (30 percent) from the field in the first quarter and just 1-of-7 on 3-pointers. Their shots weren’t falling — early or late — and they managed their lowest-scoring total in a first quarter as well, at 26-17.
The Thunder finished the period with a lay-in by Alex Abrines and a drive by Dennis Schroder and started the second with another Schroder drive and a basket by Patrick Patterson.
The Pistons countered with a dunk by rookie Bruce Brown but the Pistons couldn’t string together consecutive baskets after a Thunder miss.
Griffin had a three-point play and Jackson added a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 41-33 at the 3:32 mark of the second, but Westbrook countered with a 3-pointer. Adams scored the Thunder’s last four points of the period but Griffin hit a 3-pointer to trim the margin to 50-40 at halftime.
The Pistons had a hard time scoring against the Thunder’s swarming perimeter defense and open looks were hard to find. They stayed close through the first four minutes of the third quarter, but the Thunder’s third-quarter run was their undoing.
“For the most part, we’ve been a team that’s played hard and been in every game,” Griffin said. “We can’t have games like this. It can’t be lack of effort — there are going to be games that we miss shots but it can’t be lack of effort.”
Luke Kennard returned for his first game since Oct. 25, when he suffered a shoulder sprain against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Casey said earlier Monday that Kennard experienced some soreness after he did pregame shooting before Saturday’s game, which was why he was inactive.
Kennard was scoreless, on 0-of-5 shooting, including four misses on 3-pointers. He passed on a couple of looks in the first half, but didn’t get into any offensive rhythm.
Reggie Bullock sustained a sprained left ankle in the first quarter, leaving the court and going to the locker room to be examined. Bullock also missed a couple of games early in the season with a left-ankle sprain, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be back for Wednesday’s game at Milwaukee or back against the Sixers on Friday at home.