I have been patient, like most Detroit Pistons fans have, with the long rebuild that this franchise has undergone since the team fired their last coach, Stan Van Gundy, in 2018.

But after watching the Pistons choke away a 126-112 lead with 3:44 left in regulation in Monday night's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers (and eventually lost in overtime 142-131), I can no longer make excuses for them...

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Head coach Dwane Casey (pictured above) should be fired.  And here's why:

CASEY'S QUOTE AFTER THE GAME

Coach Casey actually said this after Monday night's choke job:

“We were down 15 points in the third quarter, fought our way back, got the lead and had a comfortable lead with three minutes left...I'm proud of the way we put ourselves into position to beat one of the best teams in the West, but we didn't get it."

WHAT!!!??? You're proud of the team for leading a club that was without their best player (Kawhi Leonard)?  But you're not irate after you gave away a 14 point lead with 3 1/2 minutes to go?  And then got outscored 14-3 in the extra period?  Now, he may have screamed at them in the locker room without the media knowing about it.  But still, it just seems like losing is tolerable.

And Clippers coach Tyronn Lue put his starters on the bench when they were down 14. The Clippers bench brought them back.  Inexcusable!!!

DEFENSE IS OPTIONAL

The Pistons are like Big 12 football, defense is optional.  Detroit gives up an average of 119 points per game.  That's second worst in the NBA ahead of only the San Antonio Spurs.  You have clearly seen their defensive struggles throughout Casey's tenure.  And it's not getting any better.  We're in a league now that emphasizes offense, but you still have to play defense to win.  And they don't do it.  At all sometimes.

CASEY'S CONTRACT STATUS

Dwane Casey has a year and a half left on his current deal with the Pistons.  He is in his fifth year in Detroit after a pretty successful run in Toronto with the Raptors.  So he's had plenty of time to get the players to become a cohesive unit.  And it's still not working.  Just look at the record, 8-28 this year.  And he's 112-226 in 4 1/2 seasons in Detroit.  He's had time to get them better.  It's not happening for them.

OVERALL

Nobody has expected them to be NBA Finals contenders, but fans have expected better than what we are seeing now.  It was not too much to ask for them to at least contend for the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference.  And that's not happening this season.

Now you have to look at tanking so you can have a better chance to draft Victor Wembanyana (the almost-certain number 1 overall pick in the June Draft).  That is a major disappointment in Year 5 of the Dwane Casey era.

And for all the reasons above, head coach Dwane Casey should be fired immediately.  The loss to the Clippers on Monday night was the last straw for me.

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