The Pistons have been able to find themselves in games early. However, one problem that seems to keep getting in their way is the second half. And for Detroit, that problem reared its ugly head tonight yet again. Going into halftime leading 63-60, the Hawks came out in the third half and almost immediately took control. Trae Young and the crew managed to outscore the Pistons 35-18 in the third quarter, and from there they didn’t look back. As much as the Pistons tried to keep this game alive down the stretch, they simply ran out of offensive firepower. And at the end of it all, Detroit found themselves losing big 130-105.
On the offensive end, Bojan Bogdanovic was able to contribute his usual 23 points. Nothing seems to ever deter the veteran forward, and even in the midst of the struggles, he is a figure of consistency for Detroit. And despite coming out struggling in the second half with decision making, Killian Hayes was able to contribute an efficient 17 points. The third year guard has gone from one of Detroit’s biggest liabilities on offense, to one of their biggest assets. Even though he came out and made some poor passes in the second half, Hayes has continued to be consistent himself. Speaking of consistency, Jalen Duren continued to crash the boards and get efficient buckets near the hoop.
Pistons need to get better in the second half
One thing that keeps plaguing the Pistons is their second half woes. And regardless of a rebuild, it is a habit they need to cut immediately. In their last three games, Detroit has had a -10 margin in the third quarter. And in addition, Detroit is currently ranked 29th in the NBA in third quarter scoring. Head coach Dwane Casey has cited focus and discipline as their issues coming out of the locker room. Since Detroit is playing NBA competition on a night to night basis, they need to be ready from the opening minutes of the second half. And if they won’t be, they will find themselves in these situations more and more often.
It can be easy to look for those to blame when reoccurring issues come up on the court. Is it the coaching not preparing their players? Is it the players not coming out with the right mentality? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Fortunately for the Pistons, there is still plenty of season to grow through these struggles. However, even in a year with lowered expectations, it is foundational to work through bad habits. It is great that the Pistons are coming out in the first half ready to play and competing each night. But when you almost immediately give up the lead in the third quarter each night, it almost immediately undoes the progress.
Detroit hosts the Clippers after Christmas Day
The Pistons will head back home to face the Los Angeles Clippers on the day after Christmas, Detroit will play host to Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and one of the best teams in the Western Conference. In addition, former Pistons Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, and Reggie Jackson will be making their yearly returns as well. Detroit will be looking to snap a five game losing streak, and to get their first win at home since the beginning of December. The last time Detroit faced the Clippers, they played in Los Angeles and narrowly lost 96-91. It will be one of Detroit’s final four games of the 2022 calendar year.