The Pistons lost five of their last six games entering Monday’s contest against the Raptors but Hornets coach Steve Clifford endorses Detroit’s Blake Griffin gamble, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. Griffin is the type of player who can make a difference in the postseason, according to Clifford. “The NBA is about winning in the playoffs, right? When you’re a coach, you look at it like this. Tie score in a Game 7, there’s 12 seconds on the clock, Blake Griffin’s one of the … I don’t know, 12 to 15 guys in the league that you can’t guard one on one,” Clifford said. “The guys they gave up are terrific, OK, but they’re not go-to, Game-7-of-a-series guys that are going to dictate a double team. That’s the number one thing you have to have to win big and that’s what they picked up.”
In other news around the Central Division:
- The Pistons’ bench has been outscored by its counterparts by an average of 21.1 points over the last six games. Coach Stan Van Gundy has tried a number of different combinations but nothing has worked. Detroit’s reserve unit has struggled since point guard Ish Smith was forced into the starting lineup after Reggie Jackson suffered a severe ankle sprain in late December. “The biggest problem is it’s become a lower-energy lineup,” Van Gundy told Hoops Rumors.
- The Bucks have locked up Giannis Antetokounmpo through the 2020/21 season but he has no desire to go to a big city like Los Angeles anyway, as Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. Antetokounmpo prefers the less hectic pace of a city like Milwaukee. “I love Milwaukee — it’s low-key,” he told Velazquez. “I can walk down the road, down the streets without anybody bugging me — nobody interrupts my conversation or anything. I love how quiet and calm Milwaukee is.”
- Bucks reserve guard Jason Terry wants to play at least one more year in the league, which would allow him to reach another milestone in his long career, Genaro Armas of the Associated Press writes. “For sure, 100 percent, my goal is to play 20 seasons,” Terry said. “The organization understands that and I think the league is on notice.” Terry, 40, is averaging 2.6 PPG in 11.9 MPG. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.