The NBA schedule maker did not do the Detroit Pistons any favors this season.
After a Halloween home opener against the new and improved Houston Rockets, the Pistons headed out on a six-game road trip to Phoenix, Los Angeles (Lakers), Denver, Sacramento, Oklahoma City and Houston.
It would have helped to win that first game at home as the Pistons led by as many as 11 early in the fourth quarter. Instead, the Pistons only managed 15 points in the fourth while allowing the Rockets 33.
The Phoenix Suns have a very different look now that Steve Nash is a Los Angeles Laker and Goran Dragic is running the show. The Pistons led by as many as 11 in this game, too, but that was in the second quarter.
After that, the Suns took off and never looked back, even though the Pistons got to within two late in the fourth quarter.
Heading into Sunday night at the Staples Center, you could almost feel it was a trap. The Lakers were an uncharacteristic 0-3 to start the season and were still looking to fully incorporate Dwight Howard into the lineup. Nash was out with an injury.
The Lakers came out determined, outscoring the Pistons 34-13 in the first quarter. They shot 65 percent as Howard was 4-for-4 for 11 points and Pau Gasol was 4-for-6 for 10 points and Kobe Bryant handed out five assists.
It never got any better from there.
“We also have a vision for this team in terms of where we want to go,” coach Lawrence Frank told FOX Sports Detroit’s Ryan Field on Pistons Live. “We know this is a building group. It’s not acceptable to get your doors blown off but we did. Yet we know we’re a young, building group. There’s a big disparity between us and the Lakers.”
No Pistons starter scored in double figures. The bench outscored the starters 52-27. In particular, Rodney Stuckey has had a rough start to the season, shooting just 1-for-23 in three games.
“Whenever a player is struggling, whether you’re shooting the ball or not doing what you usually do, it’s up to the team, the coaching staff to get him involved and try to find him ways to get out of it,” Tayshaun Prince told Field. “We gotta do a better job of that.
“At the same time, Stuckey has to be aggressive, but we’ve got to get him the ball in his hands more, I think. We haven’t put it in his hands enough.”
Wednesday, Oct. 31: Houston Rockets 105, PISTONS 96. Fresh off signing a new $80 million contract, James Harden proved his worth with a 37-point, 12-assist, six-rebound, four-steal outing. The Pistons had five players in double figures, but no one could keep up with Harden or with former Piston Carlos Delfino’s four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Friday, Nov. 2: Phoenix Suns 92, PISTONS 89. Brandon Knight had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Kyle Singler made it interesting with a late 3-pointer to pull the Pistons to within two with 4.2 seconds left but they couldn’t get a good shot at the end as Knight’s desperation heave missed.
Sunday, Nov. 4: Los Angeles Lakers 108, PISTONS 79. This one was over after the first quarter. Dwight Howard finished with 28 points on 12-of-14 shooting. He got help from Metta World Peace, who had 18 on 7-of-11 shooting. Kobe Bryant flirted with a triple-double, scoring 15 points with eight assists and seven rebounds. The Lakers shot 52 percent as a team to the Piston’s 35 percent. The Lakers dominated in the paint, outscoring the Pistons 56-34.
Jonas Jerebko: After going 2-for-7 in the home opener, Jerebko has scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting against the Suns and 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting against the Lakers.
Singler: The former Duke forward has had the hot hand, shooting 4-for-5 against the Rockets for 10 points, 2-for-2 for five points against the Suns and 4-for-9 for 11 points against the Lakers.
Stuckey: Stuckey just cannot find his shot. He shot 1-for-10 against the Rockets, 0-for-7 against the Suns and 0-for-6 against the Lakers. Stuckey only got to the free throw line once against the Suns and not at all against the Lakers. The Pistons are going to need more production from him.
Charlie Villanueva/Austin Daye: Neither Villanueva nor Daye has been able to crack the rotation three games into the season.
Tuesday, Nov. 6: at the Denver Nuggets, 9 p.m.: Like the Lakers, the Nuggets started the season 0-3 so they’re another team looking to get well against the Pistons.
Wednesday, Nov. 7: at the Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m.: Like the Lakers and the Nuggets, the Kings started the season 0-3. They play the Golden State Warriors Monday before welcoming the Pistons Wednesday.
Friday, Nov. 9: at the Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.: The Thunder started the season a surprising 1-2 and host the Toronto Raptors Tuesday and visit the Chicago Bulls Thursday before the Pistons visit Friday.
Saturday, Nov. 10: at the Houston Rockets, 8 p.m.: It’s rematch time against the Rockets and the Pistons hope to keep Harden under control.