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The Cleveland Cavaliers lead the NBA in turnovers forced per game, and points scored off of turnovers. It’s a key reason why they’re in the midst of the Eastern Conference playoff race. And on Wednesday, it made for a difficult matchup for the Detroit Pistons, who have been turning the ball over a lot recently.
The Pistons turned the ball over 22 times during their 122-107 loss against the Cavaliers. It was two turnovers shy of their season high of 24, which Cleveland was also responsible for during the Pistons’ home opener. The Cavs didn't force many of the turnovers this time, but instead resulted from bad passes.
It sealed the Pistons' 14th loss in 18 games to start the season. The Cavs scored 30 points off of their turnovers, and the Pistons struggled to keep up in the second half. Cleveland took the lead for good early in the third quarter as Detroit turned the ball over three times in the opening 90 seconds of the period.
The turnover problems stymied what otherwise would have been a solid offensive night. The Pistons had 29 assists on 37 made baskets and shot 45.1% overall and 40.7% from 3.
“We had 29 assists and 22 turnovers, that’s a bad recipe,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Just come down and get a shot. It’s a phenomenon. I thought against Philly (on Monday) we played as beautiful basketball as we could play. And tonight, we played like we never worked with each other. They shoot 54% from the field and 52% from 3, that’s a tough recipe.”
The Pistons have now committed 76 turnovers in their last four games, averaging a league-worst 19 turnovers per game in that stretch. Wednesday’s 15-point loss was tied for their worst deficit this season, which underscores how competitive Detroit has been despite its overall record. Before Monday's win over the 76ers, the Pistons lost their previous two games against the Sixers and Houston Rockets by a total of five points.
But they played right into the Cavs’ hand on Wednesday. Cleveland is one of the NBA’s best teams at not only creating transition opportunities, but capitalizing on them. Former Pistons All-Star Andre Drummond can create a lot of havoc with his quick arms, and point guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland enjoy pushing the pace. Detroit couldn’t afford to have a sloppy night.
“We talked about it in the scouting report, we talked about it before the game,” Casey said. “Again, just reading the situation. When we did come down we shot 40% from the 3, we didn’t get enough of them because we didn’t have enough possessions. And just understanding taking care of the ball, being disciplined with the basketball. With the basketball comes responsibility, no matter who you are, and giving yourself a chance, giving yourself a chance.”
Even Jerami Grant, who led the Pistons with 26 points and is one of the best in the NBA at taking care of the ball, had three turnovers, one short of his season-high.
“I don’t think they were forced,” Grant said. “I think it was on us. Tried to do a little much. I had quite a few turnovers, probably thinking too much, doing a little too much.”
Contact Omari Sankofa II at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons' going turnover woes lead to yet another loss