Dos Los -- Carlos Delfino and Carlos Arroyo -- need to play better off the Pistons bench, substitute head coach Gar Heard says.
Both went scoreless in Monday night's loss to Dallas, as did the usually dependable Antonio McDyess.
And Lindsey Hunter has missed 17 of his last 18 shots from the field.
"It was just one of those things," said McDyess, who took just two shots. "It seems like every time I touch the ball lately I haven't been able to get an easy shot. Some of it is getting into a rhythm. It seems like I'm thinking a lot when I get out on the court."
The Dallas bench outscored Detroit's, 26-2. The two points were a season low for the Piston bench. The reserves were guilty of four turnovers and nine fouls. More important, they continued to struggle on defense.
"We need Carlos to start playing the way he did when he first came here," Heard said of Arroyo, a point guard who came from Utah in a January trade. "He's holding the ball a little too long, especially on the pick-and-roll. Delfino needs to go out there and play and forget about his knee. He seems to be tentative because of the knee. We're going to need our bench in the playoffs."
Delfino hasn't been the same since December, when he had surgery on his right knee. If he were playing better, he could get valuable minutes behind forward Tayshaun Prince and guard Richard Hamilton.
Heard said the team likely would use fewer players during the playoffs and that if Delfino couldn't contribute, Hunter and Arroyo could play together in the backcourt, making that unit small.
Heard said center Elden Campbell would have to play some against big teams in the playoffs, particularly Miami and Shaquille O'Neal.
"We're going with the three big guys right now," Heard said of Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and McDyess. "We're going to need Elden in certain situations. We need to get our bench going because we can't play our starters 45 to 48 minutes per game."
Pistons acting head coach Gar Heard expressed distress over his team's lack of bench production before Monday's game.
Imagine his concern afterwards, as the Pistons' bench was outscored 26-2 in a 95-88 loss to the Mavericks.
"We fought back into the game and then you put the bench in and hope they can hold it close," Heard said. "That didn't happen."
Carlos Arroyo, Carlos Delfino and Lindsey Hunter have not scored a point in two games. The only two points off the bench Monday were provided by Darvin Ham.
"We have to take it upon ourselves to come off the bench with fire," said Ham. "You just have to come out, play hard and try to be as cohesive as possible."
A lack of practice time -- the Pistons have played six games in the last nine days -- has certainly derailed any cohesiveness, as well as the reinsertion of both Delfino and Ham into the mix.
"We still have a lot of new guys on the bench we're trying to work in," Heard said. "It is a matter of just having a little time to work them in."
Delfino, Arroyo and Hunter haven't had a point in 41 combined minutes. Antonio McDyess, the leading scorer off the bench, has reached double figures in scoring once in nine games.
"The bench has to give us something," Heard said. "I've been playing the starters too many minutes."
Every starter played at least 44 minutes in the overtime victory against Boston Saturday, and every starter played 38 or more Monday. In those two games, the bench was outscored 55-10.
Heard said it was time that Arroyo and Delfino start picking it up.
"(Arroyo) just has to run the team and pass the ball," Heard said. "He's been holding the ball too much, especially on the pick and roll. He's trying to make scoring plays. He just needs to get rid of the ball.
"I want him to start playing the way he did when he first got here."
He also needs to start defending. He allowed rookie Devin Harris to dribble from one end to the other and drain a back-breaking three-pointer in the final 3.6 seconds of the third quarter.
"That was the turning point of the game," Heard said.
As for Delfino, Heard said, "He needs to get his confidence back and stop worrying about his (surgically repaired right) knee. He needs to forget about the knee, realize he's healthy and just go out and play. He's worrying about the knee more than anything else."