Pistons travel to Charlotte hoping to end losing streak
The Pistons have lost five in a row, a sequence that, coincidentally, came immediately in the wake of arguably their best win of the season, a 111-102 home triumph over the Golden State Warriors.
They have since lost in succession to Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, New Orleans and the 76ers a second time.
The Pistons will return home after the Charlotte game, only to find Boston and a rematch with the Bucks awaiting them.
“We are trying to get every bit of positive out of this stretch,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey told reporters after Monday’s 116-102 loss at Philadelphia. “This is the stretch from hell, but again this is going to make us a better team, closer together, tougher hopefully.
“It should make us tougher because this feeling doesn’t feel good and I told our players, ‘The only people who can pick ourselves out by the bootstraps are ourselves.’ And it wasn’t too long ago when Philadelphia was feeling this way almost every other night. But now look at them. They kept building habits, kept building culture, a winning mindset, and now look where they are now. That’s where we want to build once everyone gets back and gets healthy.”
One guy the Pistons figure to get back Wednesday is Blake Griffin, who was given Monday’s game off to rest.
He and the Pistons in general will have revenge on their minds following a 113-103 home loss to the Hornets last month.
Griffin had one of his worst games of the season that night, held to 10 points on 4-for-16 shooting, including 0 for 5 on 3-pointers.
Andre Drummond had 23 points and 22 rebounds in the loss, but the Pistons were done in by Charlotte’s little guys — Kemba Walker and Tony Parker, each of whom scored 24 points while combining for 20-for-35 shooting.
The veteran duo has gotten back on a hot run of late, leading Charlotte to wins in each of its last two games.
Walker had 21 points and Parker 19 in a 113-107 home win over Denver on Friday, before Walker went for 25 and Parker 16 in a 119-107 triumph at New York on Sunday.
The two wins returned the Hornets to .500 at 13-13. They haven’t been more than two games over or under .500 all season.
Parker, who scored a total of just 14 points in his first four games for the Hornets this season, has come on strong of late, scoring in double figures in five of the last seven games.
His clutch shooting late in the win over Denver earned the praise of teammate Marvin Williams.
“The bigger the moment, the better he is,” Williams said to reporters. “He’s a champion and he has experience in those situations. It’s great to have a teammate like that.”
Parker and Griffin are quite familiar with one another, having spent 7 1/2 seasons as rivals in the Western Conference for the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively.
That rivalry reached its apex when Griffin recorded a triple-double in a two-point win over the Spurs in Game 7 of the first round in the 2015 playoffs, a loss that denied San Antonio an opportunity to repeat as champion.
Parker countered with 20 points in the loss.