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
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.