Blake Griffin couldn’t finish the Detroit Pistons’ game on Saturday, and that’s a major cause for concern heading into a busy week.
Detroit plays four times over the next six nights, beginning on Monday when it hosts the Washington Wizards.
Griffin sat during the second half of the Pistons’ 115-107 victory at Houston due to left knee soreness. He had surgery on that knee after last season and missed the first 10 games this season due to issues with his knee and hamstring.
His frontcourt partner, Andre Drummond, missed the game due to an eye infection but he should be ready to go this week.
The Pistons relied on the shot-making and playmaking of their other big-name player, point guard Derrick Rose, to close out the Rockets. He had 20 points and a season-best 12 assists.
“That’s what you got to have. That’s what this league is all about,” coach Dwane Casey said. “About having players that can create from their own and create their own shot, and he did that. He was tough down the stretch. You know how aggressive and physical the defense is going to be, and he played through it.”
Casey’s club is trying to recover from a disastrous start. The Pistons are still four games below .500 despite winning five of their last seven outings. They’ll play five of their next six games at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.
The way they held off Houston despite having to rely on their bench was significant to Casey.
“It was really satisfying,” he said. “I thought our guys showed a lot of grit, and that’s what this league is about, is grit and hard play. I think our guys demonstrated that.”
Overall, Detroit’s reserves contributed 56 points and 25 rebounds.
“We’ve been struggling on the road so far this year. Two of our best players were out. We just played hard and we got the victory,” reserve forward Markieff Morris added. “It was a tough win. They were coming off a back-to-back, so we had to keep applying pressure and not let up.”
The Wizards won the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 4, 115-99. Bradley Beal led six Washington players in double figures with 22 points.
Beal scored 29 points on Saturday but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Wizards dropped a 128-111 road decision to Memphis. Washington will try to snap a four-game losing streak and a five-game road losing streak on Monday.
“They were attacking. They saw some gaps in our defense inside and they were not going to stop,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said of the Grizzlies. “Turnovers gave them opportunities to get out in transition, but we’ve got to be able to scrap and fly around more and throw our bodies around more than we did (Saturday). We have been doing that, but (Saturday) it just didn’t happen.”
The Wizards’ frontcourt is also banged up. Second-year big man Moritz Wagner sat out on Saturday due to a left ankle sprain. Starter Thomas Bryant is weeks away from returning due to a stress reaction in his right foot.
Washington is hopeful to have point guard Isaiah Thomas available. He has missed five straight games with a left calf strain.
“He’s getting better, and that’s the good thing,” Brooks said. “He had a good workout (Saturday). It was close. He wanted to go once again, but that’s the way he is. We just have to be careful.”
–Field Level Media