It’s only one game, but the Detroit Pistons‘ 110-106 NBA victory on Friday over the Phoenix Suns was a critical win for coach Maurice Cheeks to get his team on the right path to what he still hopes will be a playoff season. Prior to the present Pistons two-game win streak, Detroit had lost six straight and didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Cheeks talked about making some changes, especially with the starting lineup, but didn’t really make any for this game.
Beating a quality team like the Suns, even though it was at home, was a good win for the Pistons, who lately haven’t been able to do anything with the mediocre teams, home or away. The losses they had have usually been against teams they should have beaten.
Cheeks needs to go after every win and put together his best lineup that has a chance to get that win. He can’t afford to experiment any longer. The only change on offense he may want to consider is with rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who continues to struggle. The Pistons have a few other guards coming from off the bench who could probably do a better job, although Caldwell-Pope is showing promise.
Cheeks did the right thing in benching Josh Smith for awhile. It got Smith angry, but his poor shooting warranted a wakeup call. If Smith can be a more effective shooter, the Pistons will flourish.
The Pistons obviously need to get in the mid-30s for win totals, if not higher. Anything less would mean a failure for Cheeks and general manager Joe Dumars, and one of them would have to go.