Pistons: Poor Defense Blocks Playoff Berth

Although they are in eighth place, the Detroit Pistons have one important task to handle before the playoffs begin–strengthen their defense.

Inconsistency would probably be the best word to describe the Detroit Pistons this season. They play like a top-tier Eastern Conference team in certain games while looking very sub-par in most.

Their most recent games reflect that trend. In a loss against the Boston Celtics on Jan. 30,  they simply looked incapable of winning the game. They did the exact opposite in their next two games.

In those games, both of which were wins, the Pistons looked like a team ready to compete against the best in the East. But they went back downhill with their loss against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night in which the Pacers were able to limit the Pistons to only 26 points in the second half.

But the other, more apparent trend, in those games is the Pistons’ lack of defense. They do not guard anyone. Most of the time, it seems like the team does not play enough defense.

But, there are other times when they do show that they are capable of playing defense, such as when they were able to limit the Minnesota Timberwolves to 18 points in the first quarter Friday night.

After that game, head coach Stan Van Gundy said, according Mlive.com:

“We had one stretch where we defended. It’s not enough.”

And, so far, that has worked for the team. They are in a decent position right now, barely taking the eighth spot. But in order for them to solidify their position in the East, their defense needs to improve. Their sub-par defensive play will not work for them to make the playoffs.

Before Saturday night’s loss to the Pacers, the Pistons had eight consecutive games in which they scored at least 100 points.

The team’s recent wins featured career-high scoring outputs. In Friday night’s win against the Timberwolves, Marcus Morris scored a career high of 36 points and Jon Leuer scored a career-high of 24 points.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a career-high of 38 points in their win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.

Scoring a lot of points has become more than just a trend for the Piston’s team this season–it has become a necessity because of their inability to defend. They are currently allowing 101.9 points per game.

The next goal for the Pistons is to secure eighth place and quickly climb their way to that seventh spot, because no team wants to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. The Charlotte Hornets are only a win behind Detroit.

There have been times when the Pistons have shown that they can play solid defense. It just is not consistent enough. Defense is the key for the Pistons to put them over the edge. It will make them more able and prepared to compete with the top teams in the league.

They have already proven themselves on the offensive end. Now, they just need to be consistent on the defensive end. Improving their defense should be the goal for their next game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

This article originally appeared on