Pistons finally get much-needed win

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
Headline Goes Here

AUBURN HILLS - The Orlando Magic were exactly what the doctor ordered for the Pistons.

The Pistons, drowning in a sea of losses, needed a win, any kind of win.

With four straight losses, five defeats in the previous six and losers in 17 of their last 24, the Pistons couldn't afford another lost opportunity to reboot their season.

The Pistons' 103-87 suitable-for-framing victory over the hapless Magic at The Palace upped their record to 18-27.

"We just had to get a win," Pistons coach Mo Cheeks said. "I kept telling our guys, we were close.

"We had a few games that we should have won and we were close in those games. But we just had to finish the games."

The Pistons, who still have 37 regular-season games to be played, are going to do more winning in the second half of the season. There's too much talent on this roster to believe this is another season to soon forget.

Sure, the here and now hasn't been pretty. But the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint. Just look at the Brooklyn Nets. A month or so ago, they were left for dead. Since 2014, the Nets are 10-2 and surging back in the hunt in the Eastern Conference.

It's all about a starting point, winning again and getting back to the things that worked beautifully when they started the season 10-10.

subhead: Back to winning

The Pistons aren't a bad team. For sure, they aren't put together perfectly.

But as painful as it's been to watch the last month or so, it's still hard to ignore some of those games from early this season, nights when you drooled of the possibilities of what could be.

Don't forget they beat the Heat in Miami, running away, 107-97, in early December. Then there was that road victory against the Pacers  in mid December, 101-96.

It's still the lone loss in Indiana for the Pacers, who are 21-1 at home.

But those wins seem so long ago, almost a memory. That's why it was so important for the Pistons to finally stop the losing.

"We've got a load of talent on this team and we have to figure out the right chemistry of players, at the right times," guard Will Bynum said.

The strange thing about this team is that they're a better road team than home team. The Pistons are 10-12 on the road and just 7-15 at The Palace.

Good teams hope to play .500 on the road and extremely well at home. The fact that the Pistons have won on the road is a good sign as the team moves forward. Bad teams in the East like the Bucks (4-19),  Magic (3-20) and Philly (6-16) have major woes away from home.

subhead: Changes

The NBA trade deadline is less than a month away. You get the sense the Pistons have to make something happen on Feb. 20th

GM Joe Dumars has assets to work with, none bigger than forward Greg Monroe, who had eight points vs. Orlando.

Monroe will be a free agent after the season and get paid - a lot. With the shortage of talented big men, Monroe, the former Georgetown star, will easily get $11-13 million per season.

And there's no doubt there will be plenty of teams interested in acquiring Monroe.

The buzz is that the Pistons will deal Monroe for the right package, especially since Monroe and Josh Smith both play the same position.

The goal appears to be to get a small forward who can fill it up, a shooter. At this point, the Pistons are dead-last in three-point shooting.

Another name that has out there for months is Rajon Rondo, the Celtics point guard. Boston is going nowhere fast and should its full-blown rebuild underway.

The Pistons also have two expiring contracts - Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva. Both are valuable trade bait because their contracts come off the books after the season.

Hence, there is plenty of options the Pistons have in front of them.

Before the season started, some had the Pistons making the postseason. That can still happen, especially if a deal is done.

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