Pistons GT coach hopes late-night scrimmage will produce needed winning stretch

By Vince Ellis, Special to PistonsGT.com

A brief chuckle is heard.

Pistons GT coach Duane Burton is on the phone and reliving last week’s 1-1 mark in NBA 2K League play.

After suffering a two-game sweep from the controllers of Pacers Gaming (3-3), which dampened the hopes raised from getting their first victory of the season two nights earlier, Pistons GT members were frustrated Friday night.

In the eternal quest to capture the attention of players, Burton used the opportunity to suggest more practice time to find chemistry that’s eluded Pistons GT in its 1-3 start.

Although it was late, a scrimmage was arranged with a Western team.

In telling the story, Burton saw the humor, hence the chuckle.

“That’s how dedicated this team is, which is good for us because we have a lot of people with a lot of hunger,” Burton said Monday afternoon.

“They all were super pissed and I usually give them off weekends and they were like, ‘Nah, we don’t need to be off. Let’s find some (scrimmages) and work on this. Let’s figure out what’s going on and nip this in the bud right now.”

Time is growing short. With only 12 games left, Pistons GT faces an uphill climb, sitting 18th in the 23-team league.

Next up is Cavs Legion GC (2-4) on Wednesday night; Grizz Gaming (1-4) follows on Thursday night. Games can be streamed live on ESPN3, or the league’s Twitch and YouTube channels.

Burton stops short of saying the team must win the next two games against teams with losing records, but is hopeful a winning streak is in the offing to help the goal of securing one of 10 playoff spots.

“For me and the guys, the toughest part is trying to see the best place to put everyone because we literally have six starters on our team,” Burton said. “It’s just trying to find out how we can give equal opportunity to everybody on the court.

“That the toughest thing for us to try to figure out.”

Needed victory

After struggling to an 0-2 week to start the season (the team received byes the first two weeks of the delayed season), Pistons GT desperately needed a victory.

Facing a winless Lakers Gaming team, Pistons GT found itself trailing in the fourth quarter of both matches.

But each time, Pistons GT fought back to complete the two-game sweep and get its first win of the season. Games are best-of-three formats.

Pistons GT pulled away to a 68-58 victory in Game 1 with a 30-9 fourth quarter and pulled out a 69-68 triumph in Game 2

Big man Ramo Radoncic averaged 24.5 points and shot 60 percent from the field in the two victories and scored the winning bucket in Game 2.

Point guard Cody “LykaPro” Hart scored 22 in Game 2.

But the momentum didn’t continue against Pacers Gaming.

Pistons GT has been plagued by slow starts this season.

To a man, team members don’t feel the issue is a lack of talent.

The issue is trying to find the right combinations among the six-man roster.

“For me and the guys, the toughest part is trying to see the best place to put everyone because we literally have six starters on our team. It’s just trying to find out how we can give equal opportunity to everybody on the court.”

“That the toughest thing for us to try to figure out.”