Heading into tonight’s contest with the San Antonio Spurs, there was a sense of intrigue surrounding the Detroit Pistons. Specifically, how would they respond to yesterday’s firing of head coach Maurice Cheeks?
Detroit seemed hardly bothered as they were able to continue to ride the momentum from their last two victories and handle one of the Western Conference‘s top teams rather easily.
Tonight’s win gave interim head coach John Loyer a victory in his coaching debut and it appeared that his presence played an important role.
Detroit came out of the gates looking very energetic as they pushed the ball and tried to set up fastbreak opportunities before the Spurs could settle into their defense.
This fast-paced style of play paid off as the Pistons played unselfish basketball and nearly blew out the Spurs for most of the game. Six Detroit players ended the night with double-digit scoring efforts.
It was also nice to see an animated Loyer encouraging his team from the sidelines. Cheeks was known throughout his coaching career to possess a very quiet and expressionless demeanor. Fans could witness Loyer calling for his team to set the pace and his energetic style appeared to give Detroit a much needed spark.
Yes, it was only one night, but the recent outings from Detroit are impressive. I would not be surprised if Loyer is the voice who can be the inspiration that leads the Pistons to a playoff run.
We will see if the feel-good effects from his coaching debut carries over into the All-Star break as Detroit hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.