Slow start hurts Pistons in ‘unacceptable’ loss to Pelicans

The lopsided loss will probably put a end to recent talk about the Pistons rallying for a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.

Raj Mehta

AUBURN HILLS — The Pistons knew they weren’t as good as they had looked in the last 10 games.

They also don’t believe they are as bad as they looked Wednesday night.

Detroit was dominated from beginning to end by a .500 New Orleans team, trailing by 20 points with 3:15 to play before a meaningless rally cut the final deficit to 105-94.

"That was just a bad performance," said Stan Van Gundy. "We didn’t rebound, we didn’t play defense, we didn’t bring any energy and we didn’t do much of anything else."

His players weren’t about to argue.

"That was just unacceptable," said Greg Monroe, one of the few players to show anything at all. "We can’t keep getting behind early like that, and we can’t keep coming out without any energy. We were giving them easy shots all night, and that’s not how you win games in this league."

Van Gundy, frustrated with several slow starts in recent games, talked about juggling the starting lineup, and it isn’t hard to figure out who might be going to the bench.

"I’ve got to find someone who will give us some energy at the start of games, because we’re digging ourselves a hole every night," he said. "That makes it tough to win. We did it against Atlanta, but at least we had a comeback that night. We never showed any fight at all in this one."

Andre Drummond was the worst offender, putting up just two points and two rebounds before being benched for most of the second half. Drummond was fighting a cold last week, but Van Gundy said he was baffled as to what the problem might be at this point.

"This is four games in a row where he hasn’t had any energy," Van Gundy said. "Tonight, he didn’t even rebound. That’s why I didn’t bring him back in the second half. He wasn’t bringing us anything tonight."

The lopsided loss will probably put a end to recent talk about the Pistons rallying for a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference — something that Van Gundy and his players thought was premature anyway.

"We’ve never been in the top eight in the East, so why would we start thinking about being a playoff team?" asked Brandon Jennings, who led Detroit with 19 points. "We’ve got to do a lot more than this to worry about making the playoffs."

Van Gundy was even blunter about the matter.

"When you are 10 games under .500 — 11 after tonight — talking about the playoffs is just absurd," he said. "We need to become a much better team before we worry about that."

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