by Micah Hart
As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Detroit Pistons, who played three straight from Jan. 30 – Feb. 1.
To quote Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate: “It was a good run. Had to end some day.”
In 15 three-play challenges so far, every single team has managed to win at least one game. In some ways that is impressive, given how tiring playing three games in three nights must be. In other ways not so much, given how terrible several NBA franchises are playing this season. The odds are in your favor that you’ll face one of these crumbums (he said like a 1950s detective), even if you are an awful team yourself.
The Pistons put an end to that on Wednesday, losing their third game in three nights and sixth straight overall, making them the first team to go defeated over the course of a back-to-back-to-back. To be fair, they were also the first team to face the challenge entirely on the road, so feel free to give them some sympathy points for that if you like, just know my arbitrary scoring system pays them no heed.
Game 1: Bucks 103, Pistons 82 – The Pistons got down early, and despite cutting the Milwaukee lead to six at the half, could not overcome Milwaukee’s hot 3-point shooting (10-17 from downtown) in a 21-point loss. Not a good start. -2 points
Game 2: Knicks 113, Pistons 86 – The Knicks have had their share of problems this season, but for one night took out their frustrations on the poor Pistons. Carmelo Anthony and company shot 60% from the field in the game, and most NBA teams are pretty tough to beat when that happens. -1 points
Game 3: Nets 99, Pistons 96 – This one hurts a little. Or a lot. Yes it’s the third game in a row, and yes it’s on the road, but the Nets were down to just eight healthy bodies last night, one of whom was recently-signed Keith Bogans, and one of whom was a perfectly healthy Shelden Williams (I kid Shel, who did have a game-high 11 rebounds). This Pistons team is in a lot of trouble. 0 points
The Pistons finish with -3 total points, which not only is unbeatable the rest of the season (in a manner of speaking), but also makes them the first team to finish in negative numbers. Sorry Detroit — first Hung gets cancelled, and now this. Detroit will have one more three for all this season, in late April. Here’s hoping they can atone.
Up next: The New York Knicks play three straight Feb. 2-4, with games at home against Chicago, at Boston, and back at home against New Jersey.
Three for all Scoreboard:
— Chicago Bulls (13 points)
— OKC Thunder (12 points)
— Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
— Houston Rockets (7 points)
— Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
— L.A. Clippers (6 points)
— Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
— Denver Nuggets (6 points)
— Orlando Magic (5 points)
— L.A. Lakers (3 points)
— Charlotte Bobcats (3 points)
— New Jersey Nets (2 points)
— Sacramento Kings (2 points)
— Minnesota Timberwolves (2 points)
— Toronto Raptors (1 point)
— Detroit Pistons (-3 points)
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