Shot selection plagues Pistons in loss to Hawks
AUBURN HILLS — The Pistons saw their winning streak come to an end Friday night, but they certainly went down shooting.
As a matter of fact, that might have been the problem.
The Pistons took 43 3-pointers in a 106-103 loss to the red-hot Atlanta Hawks, demolishing the franchise record of 33. The problem? They only made 13.
"Our shot selection was terrible at times, especially in the first half," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We weren’t moving the ball, and we didn’t have any energy. We were just taking the first shot we saw."
It isn’t like Van Gundy is opposed to 3-pointers. His teams are always well above average in attempts outside the arc, and Detroit averaged 27.7 during its seven-game winning streak, including four straight games with more than 30.
The Pistons, though, shot 43.8 percent on 3-pointers in those four games, well ahead of Friday’s 30.2 percent. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the worst offender, going 4-for-16. Unlike the team, Caldwell-Pope didn’t break the franchise record for attempts, but he was second to a night where Joe Dumars went 10-for-18. When you are shooting like that — Dumars finished with 40 points in that game — no one will complain about your shot selection. Caldwell-Pope didn’t have that luxury.
"He took a lot of them, and some of them were pretty bad," Van Gundy said. "I like that he’s not afraid of taking shots, and he hit a couple big ones down the stretch when we were coming back, but some of those were not shots that we wanted."
Caldwell-Pope’s last 3-point attempt was short at time expired, but for most of the night, the Hawks would have never believed they were going to need to play out every second of the game. Atlanta led by double digits in the first quarter, by as many as 23 in the first half and were still up 90-75 at the end of the third quarter.
"We didn’t come out with any intensity tonight, and you can’t do that against one of the best teams in the NBA," Pistons forward Greg Monroe said. "I don’t know what happened, but we were flat, and then you are trying come back from 20 points down against a great team. That’s hard to do."
Detroit came close, and they got a lot of help from a fired-up crowd of 18,859. References to Van Gundy’s now-famous comment about "we just form a wall" were everywhere, and it felt like a big game at the Palace for the first time in a long time.
"That was great," Van Gundy said. "The fans could have easily given up on us at halftime, the way we were playing, but they were into it and loud all the way to the last shot. That was nice to see."