MMPG: Team of the Weak
Dee--Troit Bas--ket--baall ain't what it used to be. The Detroit Pistons lost a season-long sixth consecutive game on Sunday, dropping an embarrassing 99-78 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It wasn't too long ago that the Pistons were actually looking like a contender for the Central Division crown. Now, the playoffs don't look guaranteed anymore.
On Jan. 9, Detroit was 22-12 after defeating former Piston Chauncey Billups and the Denver Nuggets. Since then, the Pistons have hit a depressing funk that has seen them go 5-15 of their past 20 games to go 27-27 on the season. The Pistons' schedule doesn't get any easier with five consecutive games against playoff teams (Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Boston and Denver). They could fall below .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2000-01, when that Pistons team finished 32-50.
It's easy to place all the blame on Allen Iverson, but Rodney Stuckey has been the player who has struggled most during this deflating stretch of games. Stuckey, Billups' replacement at point guard, scored 13 combined points in losses against Milwaukee, San Antonio and Cleveland. The Pistons have gone 4-10 since rookie coach Michael Curry decided to move Richard Hamilton to the bench. What do Pistons fans have to look forward to? Iverson and Rasheed Wallace's contracts come off the books this summer, giving Joe Dumars a chance to start over.
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