Pistons at Thunder Game Preview - April 16, 2014
Regular Season Game #82After suffering back-to-back defeats, the Oklahoma City Thunder only have one more chance to get right before the playoffs.
Fortunately for them, the lowly Detroit Pistons are coming to town. The Thunder go for a 10th consecutive win over the Pistons in Wednesday night's regular-season finale.
Oklahoma City (58-23) returns home following a winless two-game road swing, falling 102-97 at Indiana on Sunday and 101-89 at New Orleans on Monday.
Kevin Durant had 25 points and Serge Ibaka added 22 to go with 16 rebounds, but the Thunder's other three starters scored a combined eight while shooting 3 of 17. Russell Westbrook (rest) sat out in the second of a back-to-back.
"I'm not making any excuses. They just beat us," said Durant, who is set to win his fourth scoring title in five seasons with 31.9 points per game. "They got whatever they wanted on the offensive end and it felt like we were just out of it."
The Thunder, who were outscored 24-12 over the final 7:15, committed 18 turnovers after averaging 8.5 in their previous four games.
"We're going to learn from it like we always do and move onto the next game," coach Scott Brooks told the team's official website. "We always seem to bounce back when needed, and obviously it's a good opportunity for us to take care of business at home."
The Thunder need to win Wednesday or have the Los Angeles Clippers lose at Portland to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
"We want to redeem ourselves, come back even stronger and get ready for the playoffs to get right back on track and get back in tip top shape," backup forward Andre Roberson said.
The Thunder had dropped eight straight games against the Pistons before winning the last nine, including five in a row at home by an average of 12.4 points. Oklahoma City took this season's only previous matchup 119-110 at Detroit on Nov. 8 behind 37 points from Durant.
The Pistons (29-52) are hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat as they wrap up another disappointing season. Joe Dumars stepped down as Detroit's president of basketball operations one day after Sunday's 116-107 loss to Toronto.
"It's been tough," guard Rodney Stuckey said. "From day one, our mindset was making the playoffs, and unfortunately we didn't do that. We underachieved, and now we're going home. There's always next year. ... To be honest, I really don't know what we need. That's not my decision."
Greg Monroe had 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Raptors while Andre Drummond added 14 and 17. The Pistons haven't made the playoffs since 2008-09.
"We know that we can move in the right direction if there's the right moves being made and the attitudes are good in the locker room," forward Kyle Singler said. "My message is we'll be better."
While Detroit wasn't able to put things together, Drummond took several big steps forward. The second-year center has averaged 16.9 points and 17.8 boards while putting together a career-best eight consecutive double-doubles.
"If you watch the tape from last year and watch the tape from this year, the guy is making huge strides," interim coach John Loyer said. "The guy really cares about playing. He's a pleasure to coach. You got an inside presence like that that's only going to get better. He has a bright future."