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The Detroit Pistons were certainly not taking the TGIF approach to their game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
Then again, perhaps they were, though not in regard to the game itself, in which they were embarrassed, 125-88.
It spurred first-year Pistons coach Dwane Casey to issue a public apology for the complete no-show by his team, which held a meeting afterward.
“I first want to apologize to the fans of the Detroit Pistons, that’s one of the worst exhibitions we’ve put out on the floor,” Casey told reporters in front of the visitor’s locker room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“To stand for what the Detroit Pistons organization stands for, which is hard work, togetherness, grit, grime, we had no examples of that tonight.”
But Casey, fired after leading the Toronto Raptors to the best record and the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, was just getting started about his team, which dropped to 16-17 with the loss and has dropped 10 of its last 13 games after coming out of the gates with a 13-7 start.
“(Pistons owner Tom) Gores put too much into this team, the Pistons organization, the tradition of the organization means way too much then what we put on that floor tonight,” Casey said. “Win, lose or draw, that’s not important.
“But when you put the effort, the togetherness and the want-to out there on the floor – not only yourself – but the organization that pays the paychecks, then you’re about something.
“Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
Pistons forward Blake Griffin said the postgame team meeting went well.
“I thought it was all positive, in the sense that we are all on the same page and we understand that the biggest thing that as players we’ve taken the onus,” he said. “I think everybody knows that it’s on us more so than anything the coaches are doing. The coaches are getting us great defensive game plans, we walk through and we’re prepared for every single game, and then we just come out and we either don’t or won’t play hard for one game and the next game we’ll play hard, then we won’t play hard for a couple of games, then we will play hard for a couple of other games.
“It’s just about consistency and that’s the gist of everything, that’s why I say it was positive, because it’s not like a bunch of finger-pointing, I’ve been in some bad team meetings and this was a good one.”
James Edwards III of The Athletic said Casey had talked about the same thing earlier in the week.
“We should be the hungriest dog in the yard,” Casey said. “We haven’t made the playoffs in four years. We should be chomping at the bit every opportunity we have to get out on the floor to play against an opponent. It’s not frustrating, it’s a mystery. It’s a mystery because our job as a coaching staff is to change that behavior, to change that approach. That’s our charge as a coaching staff.
“Again, I’m going to keep preaching it, keep talking it, until we change that behavior because I do know that the approach we’re taking works, the continue-to-get-better approach, and we just have to see if we can change that behavior.”