My teachers taught me to always start with a positive. So let's start with a few positives:
- Big Ben Wallace sort of had a career night (23pts, 14 reb, 5 steals, 4 ass PLUS a three-pointer at the end)
- The Pistons had a great first half, dropping 72 points to take a 19 point lead
- we had a rather good first half of the third quarter as well extending the lead to 25
Well, after that it all broke apart. In the fourth we got outscored by 20, 23 respectively if Ben hadn't hit his three.
I made three Screenshot breakdowns. Two about the incredibly bad defense and one about a very nice play when I thought the Pistons had pulled it together.
Please start executing!!!!
This play reminded me of the Pistons of the past. Stuckey had the roll of Chauncey, there was a lot of off-ball movement with the ball barely moving at all. It's a perfect example of sharp execution and how it would enable an average team to play above average. Sorry for the quality of this sequence, my internet slowed down considerably, don't know why!
Stuckey passes the ball to Ben Wallace at the three point line (where he was especially efficient last night).
As soon as Rodney passed the ball he cuts towards the basket and curls around a Tayshaun Prince screen in order to get the ball back from Wallace.
Ben and Tay then set a double-screen on the weakside. Rip acts as if he was cutting baseline, fools his defender and uses the screens to get himself open for his trademark midrange jumper.
It looks like an old play, because it was so incredibly fluent. The players have been playing together for a lot of years and just reminded me of old times so I thought I'd include this one.
HORRIBLE PICK AND ROLL DEFENSE!!!
What especially annoys me and has been annoying me for quite some time now is the horrible pick and roll defense. It's almost an insult to the word horrible. I'd think even Shaq could potentially improve the pick and roll defense. Want proof? Look no further!
Charlie Villanueva does his best Nowitzki impersonation in this one!! I'm sorry, I love Dirk, he's German like me and he has the sweetest jumper in the league, but he used to blow so many defensive assignments that it was funny. Nothing's funny about this one though.
Leandro Barbosa gets the ball on the left wing and is guarded by Will Bynum. Amir Johnson is running over to set a baseline screen.
Smart fella that CV31 is he knows he has to show on the screen to stop Barbosa from penetrating, Leandro's bread and butter. For a reason that is beyond me, CV31 decides to show on the WRONG SIDE of the screen.
Barbosa uses the screen and converts the easy two. Admittedly it was a well designed play. Monroe has to stay with Bargnani on the perimeter since he is a real threat out there. Daye could've taken one more step towards the basket so he would've been in better help position. It doesn't excuse Charlie V for this disastrous decision though.
Want another example just how bad the Pistons defend the P&R? I got one more! Detroit gives up a lot of threes in decisive moment. Remember the games against the Knicks or Orlando where the opponents seemingly got open looks at will and burnt the Pistons badly.
Coach Kuester is a defensive minded coach, that's why he got the job in the first place. He's been coaching this team for well over a year now and I just cannot understand why the team is still incapable of defending one of the easier offensive schemes. The Pistons aren't playing against Stockton and Malone, not even Deron Williams or Al Jefferson. They were playing Bargnani and Jerryd Bayless...
So let's see how easy it is to get an open three pointer in crunch time.
The Raptors single out Bargnani for an iso-play against Ben Wallace, not a big mismatch there because Bargnani isn't known for his strong post moves and Ben Wallace has made a Hall of Fame career out of defending the post. I probably would've content happy with a one-on-one situation in this instance. Rip Hamilton thinks otherwise and decides to double-team leaving his man wide open. I don't know if Kuester told his team to do so, then he's at fault. If Hamilton decided this on his own, well, then it's on Rip!
So we have an unnecessary double-team. If the team had been informed I would've believed the team had rotated: Stuckey to Bayless and Prince to Barbosa. You always want to make the opposing team make the toughest pass, not the easiest. Usually the double-team should've come from Stuckey or (and this is a sneaky one) from Prince from the baseline. as I mentioned before, I wouldn't have doubled at all.
What's incredible though is that when Bargnani passes the ball to the hot-shooting Jerryd Bayless, Rip looks completely puzzled (illustrated by the question marks) and first tries to run to the left wing not realizing that his man never moved at all. Bayless gets a wide open look hence three points for the Raptors.
Detroit never recovered from this shot!
I liked the lob play Kuester drew up. As Kelser said, it was just a little too far away from the basket for Stuckey to convert. We ran a similar play in high school called "O", never worked for us either... But it could've worked!
What's to learn? The Pistons cannot hold a 25 point 3rd quarter lead to get a desperately needed win at home. The defense gets worse and worse and I don't know why Kuester cannot fix it. It's not entirely his fault. Dumars gets a defensive oriented coach and signs Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, both not known for defense. We'll have to see how it plays out, I'd take a good defensive squad with bad offense over a good offensive team with bad defense any day.