Dwane Casey doesn’t want to use injuries as an excuse. The Detroit Pistons coach expects his team to play at a high level no matter who’s on the court.
That being said, it would sure be helpful if his two best frontcourt players suited up for Wednesday’s home game against the Toronto Raptors.
Blake Griffin, the team’s All-Star power forward, missed Monday’s game against the Washington Wizards with a sore left knee. He had surgery on that same knee after last season. A precautionary MRI exam revealed no new issues but he’s only played in 14 of the team’s 27 games.
Andre Drummond missed his second consecutive game due to left eye inflammation, a result of an allergic reaction to eating an avocado during the team’s trip to Mexico City last week.
Both are questionable to play against the Raptors.
Without them, the Wizards shredded the Pistons’ defense and pulled away to a 133-119 win. It was the most points the Pistons had given up in regulation since a 134-94 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1995. Ironically, Casey was a 37-year-old assistant coach for the Sonics that evening.
Detroit defeated the Houston Rockets 115-107 in its previous game on Saturday without Griffin and Drummond playing in the second half.
“We can give every excuse — who’s here, who’s not playing, who’s what,” Casey said. “The same thing happened in Houston, everybody was happy in Mudville then. So, why can’t we come around and have the same disposition, the same attitude or approach. They may not be here Wednesday night. So, are we going to come out with the same ‘Woe is me?’ No, you’ve got to come out with that same attack mentality.”
The Wizards shot 81 percent in the first quarter (17-for-21) and 77.8 percent in the fourth (14-for-18) when they scored a combined 80 points. They also diced up the Pistons beyond the arc in the second half, making 11 of 20 attempts.
“We really couldn’t get stops all game,” Pistons power forward Markieff Morris said. “They scored 133 points, so it just wasn’t in the fourth. They figured out how to get their best players involved and Bradley Beal (35 points) had a great game. Our team made some shots late in the fourth, but we just couldn’t figure it out.”
Casey will be coaching against his former team on Wednesday. He was their head coach for seven seasons.
In the first meeting this season, Toronto won at home 125-113 on Oct. 30. Forward Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 30 points.
Siakam has also reached the 30-point mark in the team’s last two outings, including a 133-113 romp over Cleveland on Monday when he scored 33. The Raptors shot 58.4 percent from the field and made half of their 32 3-point tries.
“There wasn’t a ton of defense going on either way but that’s OK,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We shot the ball well, had 31 assists. So a lot of guys with some pretty good nights there. We’ll take a W, that’s for sure, man.”
For sure, shooting guard Norman Powell has also been on a tear. Powell is averaging 24.3 points and shooting 68.3 percent from the field over the last three games.
“He’s in the open floor and he’s being decisive, putting the jets on and going to the rim and he’s finishing,” Nurse said. “A few games ago, he was looking around and trying to figure out where to go and who to throw it to, and wasn’t making the right decisions all the time.”
–Field Level Media