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3-on-3: Can the Pistons do anything to contain James Harden and the Rockets tonight?

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (0-6) at Houston Rockets (2-3)
  • Date: November 10, 2012
  • Time: 8p.m.
  • Television: FSD

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, we will have three writers answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Today, previewing the Rockets-Pistons game with me are Michael Pina (follow him on Twitter) of Houston Rockets blog Red94 and Ben Gulker (follow him on Twitter) of Pistons blog Detroit Bad Boys.

Please add your responses in the comments.

The Pistons had the honor of being the first victim in the Season of Harden, but they also struggled to guard Jeremy Lin and Carlos Delfino in that game. Why was Houston’s backcourt such a difficult matchup and what, if anything, can Detroit do differently this time to slow those three down?

Patrick Hayes: I don’t think they can do anything with Harden. Rodney Stuckey was completely overmatched the first time around and they have no other guard on the roster who would have a prayer in that matchup, although it would be nice to see Kim English get a longer crack at it if Stuckey struggles.

The biggest thing the Pistons need to do is close out on shooters. Lin and Delfino didn’t have a hand in their face all night. Even a minimal effort to contest threes would be progress from the first game.

Michael Pina: In the season opener, Lin and Delfino both played well as effective offensive options, but Harden was clearly the head and brain behind Houston’s scheme. Almost every possession revolved around him initiating a pick-and-roll, and time after time it seemed like Harden was able to make guys like Lin and Delfino look better than we may have expected them to be. The Pistons haven’t been the greatest defensively this season (currently ranked the second worst team in the league by NBA.com/Stats), and I’m not sure slowing down a rested Harden is possible right now.

Ben Gulker: Historically, Rodney Stuckey has always defended the PG position better than the SG position, because of his size and strength advantage against many PGs. Against NBA SGs, that advantage disappears. Brandon Knight‘s struggles defensively are less obvious; he has the tools that should equip him well defensively, but his defense has been lacking.

At the end of the day, these guys need to get a whole lot better defensively in order to be a legitimate starting backcourt. That kind of improvement are typically made during the off season, not in the midst of an NBA season, so I’m not terribly optimistic they’ll handle Harden and Lin that much better.

Our best hope to shore up the defense against guys like Harden and Lin may be more minutes for Andre Drummond. Dribble penetration killed the Pistons in the opener, and even though Dre has looked a little lost on rotations and help defense, ] having an athletic defender with his shot-blocking ability may be the best defense the Pistons have. If you can’t keep them out of the paint, in other words, at least make it tough once they get there.

As for Delfino, it seems pretty simple: don’t leave him open. The Pistons didn’t look prepared for Houston’s new look, and they adjusted poorly to Harden’s dribble penetration. Perimeter defenders helped too much, leaving Delfino open to cash in on wide open shots. Don’t leave him wide open, crowd him when he has the ball, and make him dribble.

If the Rockets win this game, it will be because _________ went right for them.

Patrick Hayes: Omer Asik continues to be unmovable. Asik isn’t really an offensive threat, but when he was able to park himself right under the basket virtually any time he wanted against the Pistons, it wasn’t hard for him to catch and finish or get in position for offensive rebounds. The Pistons can’t do much to slow Harden down. They can give a better, more physical effort against the front line.

Michael Pina: They continue to grab offensive rebounds, get to the rim/free-throw line at will, and hit a solid percentage of their many attempted three-pointers

Ben Gulker: Two of three things: Offense, Defense, or Rebounding.

Houston doesn’t have to be brilliant to beat Detroit, just competent. Pick two, and Houston ought to win. If the Rockets play well on offense and on the glass, it will be rough on Detroit. If the Rockets play well on defense and clean the glass, the Pistons won’t be likely to score enough to overcome a poor offense performance from Houston. And if Houston’s offense and defense clicks? De ja vu.

If the Pistons win this game, it will be because _________ went right for them.

Patrick Hayes: The bench continues its strong play. Detroit’s second unit has been virtually the only thing that has gone right for them. If they continue to get energy, defense, shooting and play at the more frenetic pace that is their staple, the Pistons will have a decent chance of getting a win.

Michael Pina: Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe out-muscle Omer Asik and Cole Aldrich on the glass, and Stuckey makes Harden work by hitting more than two shots.

Ben Gulker: Everything? Something? Anything?!?!

Almost nothing has worked so far, so I’d be satisfied with anything going right, regardless of wins and losses. I’d take Stuckey shooting 45% from the field. I’d take Greg Monroe putting up an efficient 18, 10, and 4 with fewer than 2 turnovers. I’d take 25 mistake-free minutes from Drummond with 8 points, 8 boards, a steal, and a block. Frankly, I’d even settle for fifteen minutes of the following lineup, regardless of their performance: Stuckey/English/Jerebko/Monroe/Drummond.

Collectively, the Pistons are among the league’s worst defensively, offensively and on the glass. Better play in any area would be a good first step, and we can talk about wins later.

56 Comments

  • Nov 10, 20126:07 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    Take away Harden Dribble Drive….he struggles against the Zone defense

  • Nov 10, 20126:53 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    McHale isn’t with Houston tonight, family emergency in Minnesota, Sampson is taking over for the meantime. Maybe the Pistons can beat them in the coaching department?

  • Nov 10, 20128:22 pm
    by Freddy

    Reply

    The Rockets are currently 2-3 not 1-3.

  • Nov 10, 20128:43 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    im trying to stay positive but you already know what you advantage is…and to not play to your strength is confusing

  • Nov 10, 20128:44 pm
    by D_S_V

    Reply

    Drummond can’t carry the second unit. Bynum and Monroe seem to be the ones who know how to best use him on offense. If he doesn’t play with Monroe tonight (the rotation is looking like it could play out that way), I’ll be upset. Playing with the starting lineup allows Drummond to limit his responsibilities.

    • Nov 10, 20128:45 pm
      by D_S_V

      Reply

      …and accentuate his abilities.

    • Nov 10, 20128:46 pm
      by D_S_V

      Reply

      Sorry, and still, I don’t think he needs start but he needs to play with Monroe. And as I’m writing this Monroe is checking in. Yay!

  • Nov 10, 20128:56 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    same ole same…sloppy congested looking offense…

  • Nov 10, 20129:06 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    That Knight to Monroe pass right before the halftime buzzer is easily the best pass Knight has ever thrown as a NBA player.

  • Nov 10, 20129:07 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    why does Mateen Cleaves talk so loud?

  • Nov 10, 20129:10 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    I feel like Knight is VERY! Good when the offense is uptempo..but in the halfcourt set he wants to score, but he know he’s not suppose to…

  • Nov 10, 20129:13 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    If anyone comes across a link to video of the Knight-Monroe play and can shoot it my way, it would be much appreciated.

    • Nov 10, 201210:35 pm
      by HIRE MIKE BROWN

      Reply

      u should consider a 4 on 4 edition and let me share my thoughts

      • Nov 10, 201210:49 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Haha … you share your many, many, many thoughts every day. I have no idea how you’re able to type out comments and hit that submit button so fast.

  • Nov 10, 20129:16 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    tonight it looks like we went away from running the offense through greg

  • Nov 10, 20129:34 pm
    by Desolation Row

    Reply

    Knight’s played some solid D tonight.. shows he can be good if he puts in the effort. Still need to play Drummond more minutes. 

  • Nov 10, 20129:38 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Knight with 5 turnovers. Smh.

    • Nov 10, 20129:39 pm
      by I LOVE U FRANK

      Reply

      knight has some fatigue turnovers mixed with bad decision and throw in players not creating space

  • Nov 10, 20129:38 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    not gonna come after frank…but why go back to this rotating defense against a team that wants to shoot three?

  • Nov 10, 20129:44 pm
    by I LOVE U FRANK

    Reply

    im not happy with what im seeing…..the spacing is horrible again…

    Frank goes back to that same terrible defense….

    We had to really good games where the offense looked fluid and today it seems like he is trying to go back to want didnt work… 

    • Nov 10, 201210:51 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      The defense wasn’t that bad tonight. Limited HOU to 40 percent shooting, out-rebounded them and forced 14 turnovers. They weren’t great, but it certainly was a better defensive performance than most of their games this season.

  • Nov 10, 20129:52 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    tired of this coaching

  • Nov 10, 20129:56 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    BALL GAME

  • Nov 10, 20129:57 pm
    by Venice

    Reply

    Its really hard watching Detroit with this roster .I think ill stop watching until they make some trades .ITS TOO UGLY .

  • Nov 10, 20129:59 pm
    by Desolation Row

    Reply

    How many games in a row do the Pistons have to lose until Frank (or perhaps Dumars) is gone? 10? 15? 40? 82?

  • Nov 10, 201210:00 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    HOW CAN YOU SEE WHAT WORKS AND THEN JUST DECIDE TO GO AWAY ?

    • Nov 10, 201210:03 pm
      by Mark

      Reply

      Its all part of the process…

      • Nov 10, 201210:52 pm
        by vic

        Reply

        lol! thats definitely a frankism.  it tskes courage to stay true to your convictions

  • Nov 10, 201210:03 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    Brain Hill or Dee Brown will be coaching this team very soon

  • Nov 10, 201210:04 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    Monroe’s shot blocking may be the Pistons’ best development of the season. He now looks at least like an average starting C in that regard.

  • Nov 10, 201210:05 pm
    by Stuckey and Whoever

    Reply

    Coach called it quits pretty early this game.  I know that had a long road trip but come on, lot of coaching changes need to be made

  • Nov 10, 201210:07 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    B.knight you will be a good player but get rid of that floater

  • Nov 10, 201210:13 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    how many minutes Greg and Dre play together today? 5-7?

  • Nov 10, 201210:18 pm
    by JakartaPistons

    Reply

    More minutes for middleton. Good athleticism

  • Nov 10, 201210:20 pm
    by JakartaPistons

    Reply

    CV and Daye are BALLING!

  • Nov 10, 201210:22 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Give Drummond close to 20 min and he will give you close to a dbl-dbl. Pretty much has been the case all year, incl preseason. Not sure why they can’t find more minutes for him. Its a mystery

     

  • Nov 10, 201210:22 pm
    by Desolation Row

    Reply

    Daye looked good tonight.

  • Nov 10, 201210:23 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    smh……. 0-7 its time for a coaching change

    • Nov 10, 201210:40 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      You have harped on how bad the team’s offense is, and you think Mike effing Brown is the solution to a bad offensive team? And hell, his calling card is supposed to be defense and the Lakers were pretty awful defensively so far this year despite having the best defensive player in the league.

      • Nov 10, 201210:53 pm
        by HIRE MIKE BROWN

        Reply

        The point im making is we need change…this isnt working….Mike Brown would be more respected than Franks…

      • Nov 10, 201211:00 pm
        by HIRE MIKE BROWN

        Reply

        another Mike Brown advantaged…he coached Bynum and Gasol…he knows how to Coach and play Bigs together…

  • Nov 10, 201210:25 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Also when he’s on the court, we have the biggest guy in the game 90% of the time, who’s a load inside. Why does he never touch the ball? Instead our guards just dribble around and settle for jumpshots all game. 

    Now that he’s making FTs there’s no excuse to not give him the ball inside. At worst he gets fouled and we at least get 1 pt out of a posession, instead of TO, TO, bad shot. Plus make him a factor inside and the perimeter will open up. Someone needs to teach that to our guards. They don;t seem to know that the more they the pass inside to the bigs, the easier it makes it for them to score too.

    • Nov 10, 201210:39 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Why does he never touch the ball? Instead our guards just dribble around and settle for jumpshots all game.”

      Because the guards aren’t very good?

  • Nov 10, 201210:26 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    0-16 last year
    0-7 this year

    we know the end of this story 

  • Nov 10, 201211:12 pm
    by HIRE MIKE BROWN

    Reply

    if 0-10 GETS FRANK FIRED IM WILLING TO TAKE 3 MORE L’S

  • Nov 10, 201211:13 pm
    by Seto

    Reply

    If a new coach, then McMillan

  • Nov 12, 20127:51 am
    by Hire Brown 2

    Reply

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