Perhaps no one will be happier when Lawrence Frank returns to the Detroit Pistons bench than his temporary replacement, assistant coach Brian Hill.
The team is locked in an eight-game losing streak, exactly like the one that started the season, and Hill can’t figure out how to end it. He doesn’t know what to do about the culprit in the Pistons current dilemma: lack of defense. Frank has been gone for more than a week to be with his ailing wife. It’s not known yet when he’ll return to the sidelines.
That defensive ineptitude was evident again Saturday night versus the Portland Trail Blazers when the Pistons lost 112-101. The Pistons have been allowing other teams to have offensive field days.
“We were trading baskets,” Hill said. “When you shoot 52 percent from the floor and score 101 points, and you’re on the road, we feel like we need to win the game. But we have to shore up our defense. We’re giving up too many points, and teams are shooting too high a percentage against us.”
That’s very obvious, but unless the Pistons are playing a team with a worse record than theirs and the game is at The Palace, Detroit doesn’t have much of a chance of winning. Brandon Knight is out, and his return may help somewhat — the same applies to the return of Frank. Until then, however, the Pistons continue their slide to one of the poorest records in the league.
At least Hill hasn’t been out-coaching Frank, which might be in the Pistons coach’s favor when general manager Joe Dumars decides whether or not he needs to make a coaching change.