Dwane Casey: Pistons aren’t out of the playoff race

It’s been a frustrating last couple of weeks for the Detroit Pistons.

Earlier in the year, they were ranked as high as fourth overall in the Eastern Conference and had defeated Western Conference juggernauts in the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, as well as Eastern power the Boston Celtics.

But since the win over Golden State, the Pistons have dropped 14 of their past 18 games and have dropped to ninth in the Eastern Conference, out of a playoff spot. The latest setback was Monday night’s 119-107 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. But afterwards, head coach Dwane Casey wasn’t hitting the panic button – just the opposite, in fact.

“I didn’t come here to hold serve or be out of the playoffs,” he said. “I came here to get us back into the playoffs, to build this program to where it was.”

Of course, Casey has experience in bringing a struggling team back to relevance, taking the Toronto Raptors from regular non-playoff seasons to being a powerhouse in the East.

“Believe me, we’re nowhere near throwing in the towel,” Casey said. “We’re not out of the playoff race by any means.”

With a difficult four-game western road swing coming up for Detroit, they run the risk of falling further behind in the NBA standings. But forward Blake Griffin is staying positive, saying that things can easily chance in little time.

“All it takes is some adjustments here and there and we can rattle off five in a row,” said Blake Griffin, who led Detroit against San Antonio with 34 points and eight assists. “Your record looks a lot different, your seed looks a lot different. You’ve got a little bit of new life.”

The Pistons will begin their road trip with a stop in Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Wednesday night, with stops in Sacramento and then back to Los Angeles to play Griffin’s former Clippers teammates. The road trip concludes in Utah against the Jazz on Monday night.

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