Preseason Game #2: Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons

Essentials

  • Teams: Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: October 10, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket, 950 AM
  • Television: None

What to look for

The clash of the undefeated titans happens tonight!

In all seriousness, the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons both won their preseason openers and will meet tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills for an exhibition game that will give a bit more insight on the home team.

Miami is bringing back the same core as least season, thus we have a clear indication of what to expect from the defending champions. After missing the first preseason game, Dwyane Wade is scheduled to play tonight in Detroit.

The Heat have two newcomers in Michael Beasley and Greg Oden that are both reclamation projects and it will be interesting to see what happens with them going forward. Both were once upon a time projected to be franchise saviors, but at the moment they will have to fight to make the team.

It’s quite doubtful we will see both tonight at the Palace.

From the Pistons’ standpoint, tonight’s contest comes with a lot of intrigue because of how the team looked against Maccabi Hafai. Detroit shared the ball and played in unison in their preseason opener.

Because it was an exhibition game against an overmatched opponent, it’s difficult to use that contest as a projection of things to come. Still, there were some things seen in the matchup that raised eyebrows a little.

Between Josh Smith and Andre Drummond, the Pistons have two players that are terrific finishers at the basket. In turn, that means Brandon Jennings and company will be better on this front in 2013-14.

In 2012-13, they were second in the league in total shots at the rim but converted those field goals at a bottom-five rate. Smith and Drummond change that equation a little. Have a look at the video below and watch as Greg Monroe sets up Drummond for a paint shot in the preseason opener:

The Pistons will have to run several actions to get shots directly at the rim because they lack a premier player to manufacture those shots. The coaching staff has already made that realization and thus they have a couple of sets with a few reads that will free up guys at the basket.

In the video below, Detroit runs a simple baseline action that Lawrence Frank used last season. Drummond sets the screen and watches his man cheat over the top a little. Rodney Stuckey reads the defense and just throws the ball up for the alley-oop connection:

Detroit scored 56 points in the paint against Maccabi and it will be interesting to see if they can approach that total against the Heat. Miami was one of the best defensive teams in 2012-13 and they were amongst the 10 best teams at defending the paint last season per Team Rankings.

Thus, Detroit’s ability to create and convert shots at the rim will give a semblance of an idea whether this will be something the Pistons can capitalize on during the 2013-14 regular season.

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