The Detroit Pistons have started their season virtually in every game they've played so far, yet their slow-to-start offense and defensive worries in the backcourt have left them without any victories to show for it.
Off to their worst start in Pistons franchise history (0-8), something has to change for a Pistons team set to face the "New-Look" Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night from Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia.
The losing streak continued with Monday's 92-90 loss to the former Western Conference Champion, Oklahoma City Thunder, who recently handed Detroit its sixth loss of the season last Friday. The Pistons, at one point, looked ready to receive their first win until their defense broke down late in the game. The Thunder started charging and took back the lead with a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter while outscoring the Pistons, 30-17, in the fourth quarter to squeeze out a tight win.
"The effort has been there both times we've played Oklahoma City. We understand the fire power they have, but now we have to understand we need to come with that same mindset playing against these other teams," Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince said following the loss.
"No matter who we play, we have to play with this type of aggression throughout the game."
Philadelphia has also had its woes against stronger teams around the NBA. The Sixers produced a three-game winning streak that ended up being halted in Monday's 105-96 setback to Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jennings impelled a season-best 33 points and added eight assists and five rebounds to lift the Bucks over the Sixers late in the fourth quarter. Let's not forget Monta Ellis who also added 18 points, seven assists and five boards to the dominating effort.
The 76ers were led again led from the progression of Jrue Holiday, who poured in 25 points and six assists. Eleven-year veteran and former Michigan State standout, Jason Richardson, returned to the rotation after missing four games with a left ankle sprain and scored 20 points for Philadelphia (10 in the first quarter) and showed off his athleticism with an emphatic 360 jam.
"We did some good things but Jennings was just fabulous tonight," Sixers coach Doug Collins said after the final minutes of the contest. "We weren't able to overcome our mistakes. We just couldn't finish it out."
Just like the Pistons, the Sixers also fell twice to the same opponent before facing the Bucks. The Sixers lost two double-digit deficits to the hot-shooting New York Knicks before going on a three-game winning streak on the road. So the teams both have seen some adversity to start their seasons, one more than the other of course.
In other Sixers updates, it was announced new center Andrew Bynum would be cleared to carry on "basketball activities" by Dec. 10. He will begin more conditioning exercises to get him ready for the season 1-4 weeks later. Sixers fans may see him by New Year's if lucky.
"We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform," New 76ers general manager Tony DiLeo said in an interview. "We also know that no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon."
As far as the Pistons and Sixers are concerned, the Sixers closed out the 2011-12 regular season with a 108-86 loss at Detroit, but were 3-1 in the season series. Detroit is on a two-game losing streak at the Wells Fargo Center and has only won one game in the last four meetings with the Sixers.
If the statistics prove to be true, the Pistons will be walking off the court with an 0-9 record and continue to be a staple of mediocrity in the NBA today.
With problems in the backcourt, Rodney Stuckey inactive for Wednesday night's game, this may be a walk in the park for an explosive 76ers team looking to avenge their loss against the Bucks.