In many ways, there isn’t a lot to take from the Pistons’ 101-96 loss to the Heat yesterday. Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson were still out. In a week, Detroit will be a much different team.
But there are three key lessons that can be taken from the final six seconds of the game. They won’t be learned, of course. But they should be.
Passing during the final possession actually helps
Henry Abbot of TrueHoop explains well how Detroit’s final possession was misguided. Isolation plays, which most teams resort to in crunch time, are too easy to defend.
Down by one with six seconds left, Rodney Stuckey drove right. Wade stayed with him, and Jamario Moon was ready to double team. Stuckey couldn’t get close enough to the rim to attempt more than a twisting jumper, which Wade blocked.
Everyone knew the Pistons would run an isolation play. That’s just what NBA teams turn to at the end of games, so it was easy to defend.
Detroit’s possession before that began the same way, with Stuckey driving right. But he kicked the ball to Walter Herrmann, who hit a 3-pointer from the corner.
The Heat thought Stuckey was going 1-on-1 then, too. And that’s how Herrmann got open.
A play like that (you know, one with at least one pass) would have been much better.
The last minute should be officiated like the rest of the game
On that final play, Rodney Stuckey got fouled by Wade. It wasn’t called, obviously.
Wade didn’t get the benefit of the doubt because he’s a superstar. He got it because refs routinely swallow their whistles at the end of games.
It’s a dumb practice, and I wish it would end.
Not calling fouls isn’t letting the players deciding the game. The refs not making calls they normally would is deciding it.
Michael Curry has to be better
After the no-call on Wade, Pistons coach Michael Curry lost it. He picked up two technicals and an ejection.
Passion is fine, but that tirade cost Detroit any chance at winning the game.
The Pistons trailed by one with .6 seconds left and fouled Udonis Haslem after Wade’s block. Even if he hit both free throws, Detroit would have had one shot at a tie.
But giving Miami four free throws basically ended the game.
Even Sheed probably would have kept his cool in that situation.
Shortly, Hamilton, Wallace and maybe even Iverson will be back. This game will be a blip on the radar, unless it means the difference for playoff seeding.
But it could be an opportunity for improvement. Unfortunately, it assuredly won’t be.
Teams will continue to call isolation plays at the ends of games.
Refs will continue to swallow their whistles at the ends of games.
Michael Curry will continue to show he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
At least there’s a chance that last one will change at some point.