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LeBron James, then Chris Bosh, then Dwyane Wade take over in romp over Detroit Pistons, who don’t get the little things done against the Heat

There’s a natural tendency after a loss to think, “This could have been a win if…”

But that’s not possible tonight. Despite their very public problems, the Heat are a much better team than the Pistons. Miami feasts on weak teams like Detroit, and that’s why the Pistons lost, 97-72.

But we can play, “This could have been more competitive if….”

The Heat lucked out by Dwyane Wade’s early foul trouble. That allowed LeBron James to take over in the first quarter, when he posted 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. By the end of that first frame, the game was in garbage time.

Then, with LeBron resting for much of the second quarter, Chris Bosh excelled. Then, Dwyane Wade had a big second half.

Everything flowed right into place for The Big Three, but The Big Three are The Big Three for a reason. They’re going to produce.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t beat the Heat. It means you have to do everything else right, and the Pistons didn’t get anything right tonight.

  • The Pistons starters rushed the offense and took a lot of out-of-rhythm-shots because of it. Led by Ben Wallace’s 2-of-4 and no-turnover night, Detroit’s starters combined to shoot 11-of-37 and turn the ball over five times and dish five assists. Rodney Stuckey – 1-of-7 with four turnovers and one assists – was a main culprit in the struggle
  • Detroit allowed the Heat’s role players to make 5-of-11 3-pointers.
  • The Pistons were outrebounded, 45-40, but it wasn’t that close until a late surge.

This isn’t a loss I’m down about. It was a little uglier than I had hoped, but this is what was supposed to happen. There’s no sense dwelling on it.

The Pistons just need to move on and find wins where they can, when they’re not playing teams as good as the Heat.

Greg Monroe plays his best NBA game

Greg Monroe’s career-high 15 points on 7-of-8 rebounds and eight rebounds were, by far, the Pistons’ brightest spot tonight.

Monroe entered the game shooting 36.4 percent, so a performance like this is very welcome. After seeing Monroe in the summer league and at Georgetown, I’m convinced he’s not nearly that bad of a shooter. Tonight finally gave me some NBA evidence to make my case.*

*I also want to believe Monroe is better than a 46-percent free-throw shooter, but tonight’s 1-of-4 effort from the line isn’t helping me convince anyone of that.

He made two open layups shortly after entering the game, and that seemed to give him confidence. After that, he made multiple contested shots in the low post, which had been extremely troublesome for him so far this season.

And of course, he continued to show energy. These weren’t a cheap eight rebounds, many of them coming in traffic. I’ve been waiting for Monroe to slack off in a game. It hasn’t happened yet, and that’s a great sign.

Hopefully, we’ll look back on this game as a breakthrough for Monroe’s offense. But even if this was just a positive blip and Monroe still hasn’t adjusted to the pace of the NBA, tonight is a positive.

Return toward normalcy at point guard

In the Pistons’ loss to the Magic yesterday, Tayshaun Prince played point guard in the halfcourt after Rodney Stuckey dribbled the ball up court.

Tonight, Stuckey handled point-guard duties for the entire possession most of the time. The results were poor. The offense was out of sync, and without the ball in his hands, Prince’s focus appeared to drift.

A benefit of Stuckey bringing the ball up court is he can attack quickly if the defense isn’t set, and he did that a few times tonight. So, maybe Detroit’s strategy hasn’t changed. Maybe the read tonight was for Stuckey to keep the ball more often.

We’ll know more Friday against the Magic, whose defense already showed once this week it’s set up to induce Stuckey into giving the ball to Prince once Detroit gets into its halfcourt offense.

Tracy McGrady continues find ways to contributed

Admittedly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Pistons signing Tracy McGrady. But he continues to make the small plays I didn’t realize could – or wanted to – make.

McGrady just took a charge from a flying-at-full-speed Dwyane Wade on a fastbreak in the second quarter. That’s fearless, especially with his knees.

8 Comments

  • Dec 1, 201010:24 pm
    by geoff

    Reply

    can we please mention greg monroe leading the pistons in scoring!

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  • Dec 2, 20104:05 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    not much worth talking about here. i’ll leave it at this:
     
    leaving the ball in stuckey’s hands is the absolute correct thing to do right now. the organization needs to make a decision about him NOW. they should have made it already, but they’re giving him every chance to be the team’s unquestioned floor leader. having prince or t-mac run the offense is NOT a long-term fix, and it so happens it’s not even a short-term fix, since neither is good enough to carry the team to victories. the more time stuckey spends running the offense, the more evidence will mount as to what he can do. so far it looks like “not much,” but his shortcomings as a playmaker (to put it mildly) can’t just be swept under the rug and dealt with later just because we’ve currently got superior decision makers on the roster. they need to sh*t or get off the pot with this kid.
     
    if you exclude the 7 assist “explosion” against the bucks, stuckey is averaging less than two assists in the last four games. one assist twice, two and three assists once each. one more three assist game if you go back one more to the dallas game. for a starting point guard. and without particularly bad matchups either. jameer nelson, carlos arroyo, raymond felton, mike conley. stuckey is supposed to have a physical advantage over every single one of these guys. what more evidence do you need?
     
    but they’re definitely right to keep the ball in his hands as long as he’s here. no sense putting off the inevitable. may as well collect as much evidence as possible that he is one of the worst starting point guards the league’s ever seen, let alone that a team’s tried to build around.
     
    and one more thing: this box score is pathetic. 15 points for monroe, then 10 for villa and nobody else cracked double digits. 31 points in total for the starting lineup. but you know what that means… 41 bench points!! what a game for the bench, right? our two top scorers, no less!! and you know what that means… another victory in the battle of the benches! the only battle that really matters!! WTG bench! still undefeated if my math is right. i bet that miami bench feels PREEEEEETTY dumb right now. #benchstats

  • Dec 2, 20108:10 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    it is absurd to blame Stuckey for the Pistons offensive problems. Look at that first unit that he is running with: Big Ben & Max are not really offensive threats away from the basket so their men can cheat and help anytime Stuckey drives to the rack – which is his greatest strenght. Opposing coaches look for ways to take that option away from the Pistons but their own coach puts a lineup out there that effectively defends it. It’s absurd. Stuckey can be used just like Dwight Howard – you surround him with shooters with range who can hit the three off rotation if the defense collapses on Stuckey’s drive and he kicks it out. If you put Daye and Cv on the floor along with Tay and Big Ben, Stuckey gets room to operate. 

    Since Stuckey is neutralized by his own coach – who is supposed to carry the offense on that first unit? Rip? He know longer hits that little curl off screens and even his money 15′ baseline jumper is often off target these days – he can no longer carry an offense. That leaves Tay – who is having a good season and has shown that if he is not double teamed he can take his man with consistent sucess in iso’s. But he becomes a black hole and all ball movement stops when he does that. And if any of you are paying attention, you might notice that the only player Tay willingly passes to and consistently looks for is Rip.

    and you want to talk about garbage on that second unit. What is Will Bynum doing? He makes the same mistakes every game – trys to split double teams and loses the ball. Drives to the rack and gets blocked starting a fast break the other way. Goes in the air and then makes a turnover. My high school kids play better fundemental ball than that. They know they would be benched the first damn time they did that shit.

    and Ben Gordon? what is he doing on the court? he is indifferent and completely careless with the ball. people rip him every game just because he is slack with the ball and does not value it. And he makes horrible passes for turnovers – either telegraphing the pass or trying to squeeze something that is not there. And talk about his shooting……bad shot selection and then missing wide open threes. And his defense? i would glue his ass to the bench until he woke up and gave me better effort.

    i’m done for the season fellas……..unless a trade is made or Q is fired. I refuse to watch anymore of this coaching fiasco.

    Happy Holidays.

  • Dec 2, 20108:23 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    one final comment – in all my years of playing and coaching – i have never seen a player benched after he did everything the coach asked AND FOUND HIS SHOOTING STROKE!

    what Q did to Daye because or Prince’s whinning about the lineup was criminal.

  • Dec 2, 20109:06 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:

    What was criminal was starting Daye in that position in the first place.

    You’ve never, ever had a single shred of evidence that Prince had anything to do with Daye not starting. But if Prince ever did say that Daye was overmatched starting at the four, he was right. Sorry, he just was.

    Daye should be playing, no doubt. His development is vital to the future of the team. But it was absolutely the wrong move to play him at power forward.

  • Dec 2, 201012:05 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    to be clear, daye and max are probably equally bad options to start at PF. daye doesn’t have the muscle; if there’s any question as to whether or not the kid has the muscle to play SF (and your notion that his best position is SG supports that theory), there can’t be any question as to whether or not he’s got the muscle to play PF. 205 lbs, dude. i’m a foot and an inch shorter than him and stocky, and i can’t pinpoint the last time i weighed that. some time in high school, i’m sure. max, on the other hand, as i’ve said before, offers no upside whatsoever; he’s a defensive counter, but we’re still undersized at both power positions. and he can’t spread the floor to save his life. so they’re both living, breathing nightmares in that role.
     
    the fact that 1/4 through the season, villa hasn’t got a WHIFF of the starting spot is waaaay beyond inexcusable. personally, i think someone (anyone) should have gotten a look at starting in one of the guard positions, since stuckey/rip has never made any sense, and our only guard combo that’s worse is bynum/gordon. but that one’s squarely on the GM; if he wasn’t going to pull all of the strings, he would have hired a COACH.
     
    kuester’s first mistake was starting daye at all. his second was not pulling the plug immediately. his third was starting max. his fourth was insisting on playing daye at the four unless it’s garbage time. not that this team has a single “winning” combination (which is on joseph), but kuester’s done an unprecedented job of staying the course with minimizing whatever talent scraps he’s been left with.
     
    also, there’s never a bad time to blame stuckey for anything. some of it may be considered “unfair” since joe’s the one who gave him his role, but stuckey staunchly and stubbornly refuses to improve, to TRY to be a point guard. i wouldn’t care if he turned it over 20 times a game learning to make the right pass and failing; at least he’d be trying. but he tries to score, and the team loses. add that to his annual speech about stepping up and being a leader, and the fact that he has the self-delusion to call himself a point guard with a straight face. this illusion that he can drive-and-kick with ANY kind of consistency is psychotic. go watch game tape of the kid. he’s in his fourth year, played hundreds of games and i’ve seen the vast majority of them, and i saw him attempt to MAKE PLAYS after penetrating multiple times in the same game ONCE.
     
    this notion that ANYTHING keeps stuckey from making plays after he penetrates is absurd and completely indefensible. he penetrates over and over and over. it’s all he does, besides pull up for the occasional jumper or pass the ball to someone who knows how to make plays. yet he never kicks it out. ever. it’s just not in his basketball vocabulary. doesn’t matter who’s on the floor. gordon, villa, your boy daye. all them guys can hit an open three. jonas, sheed, even rip and tay are threats… but nothing. ever. kid draws FIVE (5) defenders and still tries the layup.
     
    i consider your fixation on daye to be a matter of opinion. you think he’s great, and that’s fine. nobody would ever take you seriously that he’s the best thing that ever happened to the team, but it’s perfectly alright to like him better than any rational person should. i’ve got my favorites. it’s cool. but your assertions that stuckey is just a drive-and-kick machine is ABSOLUTE FALLACY. his track record speaks volumes. is there an advanced stat for % of times stuckey kicks after penetrating into traffic? i wish there was, because it’s no exaggeration whatsoever to say it’s a single-digit percent.
     
    also, for the above reasons and then some, giving stuckey room to “operate” is the last thing this team needs, since it assumes stuckey has any clue what he’s doing with the ball in his hands. he knows how to do one (1) thing. score. the less he “operates” the better.
     
    i’m 100% behind you quitting this season in the absence of a trade. i’m in the same boat, and i wish more people took that stand and stopped supporting this fiasco. the last thing this team needs are cheerleaders and apologists.

  • Dec 2, 20106:32 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    @laser

    Stuckey is a two guard. I have always insisted on that – but a very talented two guard. You say, all he does is drive to the basket – i wish we had more players like that who could drive to the basket everytime even though their opponent knows that is what they are going to do and still finish. If Stuckey only has to beat his man and one interior defender he either finishes or gets fouled. In the past he wasn’t getting the call from the refs but this year he is starting to get respect from them. I mean, laser, the NBA is a man’s league and you do not find many players willing to take the punishment that is doled out to guards who take it to the rack. But with this system Q runs and the lineup on the floor Stuckey has to beat two defenders after he gets by his man – nobody his size can do that in the NBA

    you need to stop looking at what he is not – a point guard – and look at what he is. If he ever puts in the time to develop a low post game he could post his man with sucess on every play if he is still technically the point guard and is being defended by the other team’s point. He should go back and look at those old tapes of Dumars and how he played when the other team put a smaller weaker player on him.

    Stuckey now hits the open shot. His range has improved and he can hit the three. I have seen him make some real nice drop off passes. I have seen him rotate the ball properly. I have seen him drive & kick but not very often.
    he takes care of the ball most of the time. he plays reasonable defense. He pushes tempo well. he can play slow. he makes good cuts after he gives the ball up to the high post (why they don’t run him with T-Mac or Monroe – i don’t know)

    every player on this team is being misused by Q. Q has no clue what he is doing and Stuckey has suffered from that as well as from the Iverson experiment. he has also suffered from being slotted at the point as a combo guard when he is much better suited to the two. his basketball IQ is not suited for playing the point. He judges his own matchup quite well and understands pace, has a decent understanding of the geometry of the floor but simply does not understand how to get other players involved – beyond passing them the ball and spacing himself properly out of their way. It would be easy enough to instruct him as to where a kick out pass should be made and get him to practice passing the ball to a particular spot on the floor when he is driving the lane. You can run that kind of set in the half court – 3 on 3- in practice repeatedly until he gets comfortable with taking that look before he tries to finish at the basket.

    Proper coaching is real vital to player improvement and Stuckey has not got any since joining the Pistons.

    Daye won that job in training camp and when he got pulled (and there was a story on line with Prince complaining about Q starting Daye) he was playing real well. Was he overmatched some nights. Yes. Did the Pistons suffer because of that. Yes, because they had to give help and Prince is too f..king lazy to rotate properly and was annoyed that he had to help Daye and then recover to his man so he whined). Did the Pistons also gain on the other end. Yes. Daye was hitting that 3 over 50% of the time and his stroke looked great. You don’t bench a shooter when he is hot and shooting well. Have you ever played basketball? Having a hot shooter on your squad makes all the difference.

    Q has made a total mess of this season. i thought he would but i gave him a little slack because of the injuries last year that made it impossible for him to settle on a good rotation – but last year his offensive concept was pathetic – the Pistons are actually running better sets this year – and defensively without Ben he had no size, no stopper, and no rebounding – but he has used that slack up and shown himself to be a pitiful coach.

    i believe i predicted they would win 25 games.

    peace.

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