Detroit — Reading the quote off a cold page after another gut-punch loss against an inferior team, it sounded harsh.
“I think it’s really light in here after a win,” Blake Griffin said after the 110-107 loss to the Hornets Friday. “To me, it seems like we love the victory but we don’t like the fight. You’re not going to win games like that.”
Harsh, maybe, but to Pistons coach Dwane Casey, it sounded like truth.
“It’s a good statement because it’s true,” Casey said before the Pistons played the Spurs Sunday night. “It’s true with every team. It’s easy to shoot the three and make the ooh-ah plays. But you have to do the little things, to get the proper angle on screens, to make the proper pass out of the post, move the basketball.”
Winning basketball plays, in other words.
“All the little things, paying attention to detail in offensive situations, paying attention to detail in defensive situations — Blake is exactly right,” Casey said. “These are the things we aren’t doing that can cost you a game.
“Everybody remembers the last couple of plays. But you go through a game, you realize the things, the attention to detail, all the ‘I forgots,’ and ‘My bads,’ those add up.”
Most of those ‘I forgots’ and ‘My bads’ have come on the defensive end. The Pistons are in the middle of the pack allowing 109.2 points a game, but their defensive efficiency rating of 110.7 is 21st in the NBA. The lack of fight seems to manifest itself more on the defensive side of the ball through 19 games.
“Our offense is way ahead of our defense,” Casey said. “For whatever reason, whether it’s new faces, new terminology — the defensive chemistry is not there. It’s unusual to say but whether it’s understanding, the trust, being able to play together for an extended period of time — whatever the reason or the excuse, it’s not there.”
Just a taste
The Pistons brought 18-year-old rookie Sekou Doumbouya up from Grand Rapids and the G-League Sunday, but Casey made it clear it was just to get some eyes on him.
“It’s just a good time for him to join us,” Casey said. “Sekou is on an extended stay down there to work on his game. He’s getting valuable time. He needs to play NBA-style basketball.”
Doumbouya, in his second NBA game, scored four points (the first of his career) in 2:35 of action in the 132-98 win over the Spurs.
The Pistons took Doumbouya, who played in the French Pro League, with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft. He’s averaging 16.8 points and 5.4 rebounds at Grand Rapids.
Casey wouldn’t say whether he intended to keep Doumbouya around beyond Sunday.
“He’s here now,” Casey said. “We’ll find out where he’ll be tomorrow.”
Pop and Duncan
It seems both very familiar and very odd to see Tim Duncan sitting on the Spurs bench with coach Gregg Popovich. Familiar because they’ve been together 20 years, odd because Duncan, now part of the coaching staff, is in a suit.
“His knowledge of the game is present to the young guys,” Popovich said. “Just educating them on things they’re not doing, things they can do. It’s pretty meaningful.”
Popovich was asked how his relationship with Duncan has changed now that he’s on his staff.
“I’ve been with him for 20 years,” he said. “It’s pretty nice. It’s the same relationship, he still does whatever I tell him.”
The Spurs were without veteran center LaMarcus Aldridge, who sat out with a thigh injury.
…Bryn Forbes, former Michigan State guard, made his 110th career start, the third most in Spurs history for an undrafted player. His 48 3-pointers leads the Spurs.