AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Of course it had to be the Charlotte Bobcats.
During their season-best four-game winning streak, the Detroit Pistons beat the Miami Heat, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks, but the 8-24 Bobcats proved to be their undoing in a 108-101 overtime loss at the Palace of Auburn Hills Sunday night.
Yes, we’re talking about the same Bobcats who snapped an 18-game losing streak two games ago in Chicago.
The first place the Pistons (13-23) have to look at are turnovers. Against the Bobcats, the Pistons had 22 of them which led to 26 points for the Bobcats. You don’t beat anyone in this league turning the ball over that many times.
“You look at a lot of the hustle areas that we had been winning, we didn’t win them (Sunday),” coach Lawrence Frank said. “They were plus-10 from the free-throw line, you look at the second-chance points, fast-break points, 25 to nine.”
The Bobcats had 25 second-chance points to the Pistons’ 17.
In the previous four wins, the Pistons didn’t win each of those categories every game, but they won at least one of them and were close in the others.
“Sometimes ’cause of turnovers, but you look at the number of easy baskets they get, that impacts your spirit,” Frank said. “You look at (Bismack) Biyombo, how many boards he had (17). It all starts with either our inability to get back, our inability to guard the ball or our inability with the pick and roll to be up at the level or be into the ball so that penetration really was a source of a lot of problems.
“We shoot 50 percent for the game, but those turnovers, you lose possessions and then you give the second-chance opportunities for them. It changes the complexion, obviously, of the game.”
The Bobcats have a couple of guards that can push the ball in Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions.
Walker made the game-tying layup with 7.8 seconds left in regulation, one play after Andre Drummond had swatted away his previous attempt.
“His was the shot that put us into overtime and it carried through,” Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. “He’s got a big heart and he knows how to close a game. He’s a special player.”
Walker finished with 20 points, seven assists, two rebounds and two steals. Sessions had 15 points and two steals of his own.
“They’re a team that when you score on them, they push it right back down your throat,” Drummond said. “They come at you 100 times faster than you went at them. That’s one of the teams that when you score, you miss a shot, you gotta get back quick or else they’re going to score on you.”
Second-year point guard Brandon Knight, on the other hand, had 12 points, four rebounds and just one assist. He also turned the ball over four times.
“It’s part of the game,” Knight said. “We just gotta find a way to play without needless turnovers and make every possession count, try to get a shot every time. We did a poor job of doing that (Sunday night).”
Rookie Kyle Singler has also been struggling of late. He had just four points and five rebounds in just under 17 minutes and was responsible for two of the team’s four offensive fouls to start the third quarter.
“You have to give Charlotte credit,” Frank said. “It’s disappointing because for us, we don’t have the margin for error to get outworked. We just don’t.”
The Pistons will at least have plenty of time to get back to basics in practice as they don’t play again until Friday night in Milwaukee.