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Battle with the champs

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (19-27) at Miami Heat (33-13)
  • Date: February 3, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Fresh off a blowout home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Detroit Pistons will start off a small Florida trip with a game at the house of the Miami Heat.

After being humbled at home by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the defending champions rebounded with a victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

The contest itself might be a mere regular-season footnote, but the win was a sign of a change in focus from Miami. They have looked disinterested with the season for the most part, and have essentially been going through the motions.

However, the contest against the Knicks seemed to indicate something different: the Heat will coast no more. The back-to-back champs went into NY with great defensive energy and challenged shooters.

LeBron James, who has been accused of taking the biggest backseat of all the Heat members, was active when defending the likes of J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony. He came in with focus and was all over the floor as evidenced by his 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals.

It would appear as though James has finally flipped the proverbial switch. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com provided more in-depth insight after the game:

Over the past 10 games, James has indeed been heading up the ramp. The easiest explanation of it is that midseason has arrived and his normal rhythms tend to have him turn it on at this time. It’s possible some of it was motivation the mini-wave of negative publicity his little slump, by his standards, created. And, of course, there was Durant. James has been watching Durant’s performance like a dedicated Oklahoma City Thunder fan, and it no doubt tapped his competitive streak.

With James ramping up his play, it stands to reason that his teammates will follow his lead. The champs might very well play at a higher level in the second half of the season, and that should help the Pistons figure out just where it is that they stand in the Eastern Conference.

Detroit was victorious in Miami last December largely in part to a subpar defensive game by the home team. The Pistons converted 51.3 percent of their shots and 43.8 percent of their treys.

The Heat were consistently late on rotations, and the Pistons were more than happy to take advantage of it by scoring 60 points in the paint.

In their most recent contest at New York, Miami limited the Knicks to 30 points in the paint and dared them to hit contested shots from long range. The Pistons come with a different identity, one that relentlessly attacks the painted area for high-percentage field-goal attempts.

It will certainly be interesting to see if the Pistons are allowed to play to their strengths (second-chance points and interior scoring) against a team that has won in the past with suffocating defense.

Read about the Heat

Heat Index.

27 Comments

  • Feb 3, 20147:57 pm
    by microjfox

    Reply

    Josh Smith for anyone please.  That Gerald Wallace idea sounds dandy.

  • Feb 3, 20148:03 pm
    by microjfox

    Reply

    Josh Smith for anyone please.  That Gerald Wallace idea sounds dandy. I wouldn’t mind Tureke Evans either. Wallace ‘ contract would allow us to sign Drummond to his max deal.

  • Feb 3, 20148:03 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    OMG Greg Monroe took an 18-foot jumper. I’m only following this game on gamecast as i’m at work but geez I had to second guess myself when that came up. What the hell did that shot look like and did it miss badly and was it at the end of the shot clock or did he just go all Josh Smith on it???

  • Feb 3, 20148:17 pm
    by Jopl

    Reply

    Wow.  That flop by Wade for Drummonds 3rd foul was bullshit.  Least favorite player in the league.

  • Feb 3, 20148:30 pm
    by Mister D

    Reply

    one sided officiating so far

  • Feb 3, 20148:40 pm
    by jinzzy

    Reply

    Refs are cooking right now

  • Feb 3, 20148:43 pm
    by Windy

    Reply

    Down 9…come up with a Josh Smith triple chuck, Jennings with a step back triple chuck and followed by Bynum rushed Triple chuck…way to adjust down the stretch heading into the half…so hard to watch…

  • Feb 3, 20149:06 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    What’s up with KCP… is he hurt??

  • Feb 3, 20149:09 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Book a James triple double. If I could put a $100 on it i’d take it.

  • Feb 3, 20149:57 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    We were right in the game….until that start of the fourth qrt line up….Jonas, Bynum, Drummond…no offense….so times you just have to play guys through…overall I felt the refs screwed us early

  • Feb 3, 201410:00 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    I really if we are going to keep Monroe…which I am fine with….Josh Smith has no role on this team 

  • Feb 3, 201410:08 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    Overall we played a good game…those turnovers at the start of the 4th killed us….also I didn’t like that 4th qrt starting line up at all….but we didn’t fold…

  • Feb 3, 201410:11 pm
    by microjfox

    Reply

    That behind the back dribble shovel pass to Drummond for a quick basket was nice. 20 attempts for Josh Smith. Someone kill me.

    • Feb 3, 201410:17 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Josh Smith is like a retarded version of LeBron James. He has all the same tools except he doesn’t know how to use them properly. I don’t like player comparisons but if ever there was a poor mans LeBron then Josh Smith is it.
      This clip sums up Josh Smith… from know on he’ll be known as ‘Simple Josh’
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6WHBO_Qc-Q

  • Feb 3, 201410:38 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    I was too busy watching my boy Brandon Knight ballin. And hitting a game winner! And against the Knicks. Nice! That helps the Pistons actually. Good Night.

    • Feb 3, 201410:50 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Geez Knight’s junk must be pretty tasty to you. i wish we could’ve traded you along will his turnover happy a$$. Seriously if your such a Knight slappy then why don’t you just go follow the Bucks instead of the Pistons.

      • Feb 3, 201411:13 pm
        by jerrific

        Reply

        It’s moments like these that make me with this blog has a “like” feature. 

      • Feb 3, 201411:42 pm
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        • Feb 4, 201412:58 am
          by gmehl

          Reply

          Sorry I couldn’t understand what you said as it seems your mouth was full of something when you said it

          • Feb 4, 20141:48 am
            by Brandon Knight

            Ask your mom, she knows what’s up!

        • Feb 4, 20145:51 am
          by gmehl

          Reply

          My mom said that she could find tweezers small enough to see what you were packing. Nice try but you turned that one over like a Brandon Knight fast break.

        • Feb 4, 201410:55 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          @BrandonKnight you are the king of hanging on to single performances and ignoring total production.  You are probably a huge Lin fan as well….he hit a game winner once.

  • Feb 3, 201411:02 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    the game is close… not very bad.. but bad enough to lose in the final quarter… monroe wasn’t utilized during this quarter…
    is there a trade happening? i dont see rumors… do you guys have any info?

  • Feb 3, 201411:04 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    to me lets throw some trash.. jerebko, cv, gigi needs to go… i dont want them in our bench and just useless

    • Feb 3, 201411:15 pm
      by jerrific

      Reply

      Why? Every team has players that ride the bench but never see pt. I fail to see any scenario that makes us better by getting rid of them. 

  • Feb 3, 201411:28 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    maybe better players.. since they are expiring contracts.. we can sell them and including stuckey… get better players or picks etc.. thats Joe Dumars Job! he needs to make trades and get better players!

    • Feb 4, 20146:42 am
      by oats

      Reply

      1) Expiring deals have some value, but a significant portion of the league always have expiring deals they are looking to move or at least very willing to move. It’s not that easy to just move these guys for something helpful. What’s more, the only reason to trade for an expiring deal is if it is either taking a flyer on a legitimately good player or in exchange for ridding themselves of a kind of bad deal. At a bare minimum it’s to dump a long term deal, which means it would cut into the cap space that Detroit will have available next summer. The expected return is too low for me to think that is a good plan, with the possible exception of a Stuckey deal since he’s actually a good player. I absolutely would be shopping Stuckey hard, but that doesn’t mean a good deal is actually out there for the Pistons.
       
      2) JJ and Datome are not expiring, and I don’t know if either of them actually have any real value. Datome has been bad enough that I can’t see someone giving an expiring deal or an actual good player for him, so moving him probably requires bringing in a bad player on a longer term deal. Given that, I’d rather just roll the dice with Datome and the knowledge that he only has one cheap year left on his deal. It’s not unusual for foreign players to struggle adjusting to the longer line and faster defenses in the NBA, and if Datome can make that adjustment he becomes a legitimate asset. If he doesn’t adjust then at least he’ll be gone soon. I think the only way he gets traded away is if he’s needed as salary filler in a larger deal. As for JJ, he was pretty limited before his injury and he gets used so sparingly since it that I can’t imagine there are many teams clamoring to pay him $4.5 million next year.

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