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Thread: ECF: Detroit (1) vs Miami (2), Heat win 4-2

  1. #31
    Syndicate Emeritus, Site Co-Founder Taymelo's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Eating children, because I'm republican.
    I can't decide if Miami deserves all the credit for shooting like 1,000% and holding the Pistons to like .00001% throughout the series, or if its more Detroit's fault for not guarding anyone and not hitting wide open shots.

    What I mean is, throughout the six games, its clear that Detroit did not even attempt to defend Miami the way they should have. The Heat players had a free ride through the lane for the entire series. On the other hand, the Pistons had open looks throughout the entire series, and just couldn't hit wide open jumpers or even layups to save their lives.

    So, if Detroit doesn't guard Miami well, and Miami shoots great, and Miami doesn't guard Detroit well, but Detroit misses all its wide open shots, who gets the credit/blame?

    I don't want to say Detroit "beat themselves" and take credit away from Miami, but when you shoot 30% and there's no defender anywhere near you, how can you call that great defense?

  2. #32
    DADZIG's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    The Buxtons are not thieves.
    Blog Entries

    How the Heat cooked the Pistons

    Charley Rosen / Special to FOXSports.com

    Miami's closeout 95-78 win turned Mo-Town into no-mo' town.

    In Game 5, Detroit had stifled Dwyane Wade's penetrations by doubling him whenever he received the ball along the baseline, and also jamming the middle whenever he tried attacking the lane from up-top and straightaway. This identical strategy, combined with Wade's weakened condition, worked to a T in the first half of Game 6. Except for his splitting a loose double and banking home a layup early in the second quarter, Wade passed and shot as though the ball weighed 10 pounds.

    However, after lingering in the locker room to get hydrated during the intermission, Wade began to rain jumpers and was a key component in the liquidation of the Pistons' season. His bout with the flu limited Wade to 37 minutes and 6-15 shooting (for "only" 14 points), but his 10 assists demonstrated his resourcefulness, his unselfishness, and his maturity.

    In Game 5, Detroit also limited Shaq's effectiveness by sandwiching him between two defenders usually Ben Wallace in front, and Rasheed behind. This tactic succeeded because, except when he catches the ball directly in front of the rim, Shaq needs to put the ball on the floor at least once to set his feet and gather his massive body to unleash layups, hooks, bankers, or the stiff-wristed flippers that constitute his version of jump shots. Wedged between the two Wallaces, Shaq had insufficient space and time to prepare himself to shoot. In addition, big men are usually uncomfortable trying to catch lob passes when they know that there's a defender lurking behind them and out of sight.

    On Friday, though, the Pistons had to abandon their surround-Shaq defense in a hurry after the Big Fellow managed to turn two lob passes into two dunkers, and was fouled on a third (making both of his subsequent free throws).

    What was the difference? The absence of the surprise element was the biggest. It's remarkable what a veteran coach and veteran players can accomplish during an off-day practice session. Once Shaq could identify who was where, and what were the available spaces in which he could maneuver, the Pistons would have needed a third Wallace to contain him.

    Moreover, when a defense takes something away from an offense, they must necessarily create alternative scoring opportunities for their opponents. So, with Shaq circumscribed, Udonis Haslem was ceded open jumpers in Game 5 and couldn't shoot himself in the foot. Come Game 6, however, Haslem shot well enough (4-9 for 8 points, with several of his misses coming late in the game) to take advantage of Detroit's anti-Shaq schemes.

    For most teams, developing an all-inclusive offensive rhythm can take several minutes. That's why coaches like to have a starter who can unilaterally ring up points right out of the gate while everybody else is getting comfortable and coordinated. That's exactly what Jason Williams did and more. Popping jumpers, blowing by Chauncey Billups to either score layups or toss dunk-me passes to Shaq. Williams' astounding 10-12 shooting and 21 points easily compensated for Wade's being hampered by a flu bug.

    Antoine Walker hit a bunch of treys (3-5, scoring 11 points), was mostly under control, and managed to stay out of his teammates' way.

    Gary Payton made no great plays, and no foolish ones either. Credit him with 2-5, one steal, and 6 points.

    Alonzo Mourning huffed, puffed, blocked a shot, scored a point, and stayed out of trouble.

    James Posey played suffocating defense on Tayshaun Prince and cleaned the glass 11 rebounds in 24 minutes.

    But the Heat's biggest hero both literally and figuratively was the Shaqster. He played hard, lively, and young-legged. His numbers were impressive 12-14, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 28 colossal points but give no true indication of how thoroughly he dominated the lane.

    The rumor is that the subterranean levels of the American Arena contain both the remains of Jimmy Hoffa and the Fountain of Youth.

    Are there any kind words to say about the Pistons' lame game?

    Hamilton was 12-28 and accumulated 33 points, but Detroit only ran his previously unstoppable cut-and-screen patterns a total of four times (he scored two baskets in so doing).

    For the most part, what there was of Detroit's offense consisted of isos. In the earlier games, the Pistons' most effective ploy was having Billups go one-on-one against Williams.

    Here are the unsatisfactory results of this same tactic in Game 6:
    Billups hit 2-of-6 shots.
    Made an assist-pass.
    Was fouled 3 times, and shot 2-2 from the stripe.
    And committed a turnover that directly led to a layup at the other end.

    Overall, Billups made three little shots (3-14), and no biggies. Prince was likewise a non-factor 3-9, 10 points. His dangerous right-box post-ups were nullified by quick double-teams, and he was therefore almost totally uninvolved.

    Rasheed was 4-12, with 8 rebounds, and 10 points although a meaningless last-minute three-ball moved his scoring total into double-digits. Yeah, his ankle hurts. But at this stage of the season, everybody is hurting somewhere. And a bad ankle is no excuse for his embarrassing performance in the low-post 1-3, including an air-ball and a cockeyed jumper that hit the side of the backboard.

    Except for his abbreviated stint with the championship Pistons two years back, the bad Rasheed has always trumped the good Rasheed. One wonders exactly how many other Rasheeds there are.

    Ben played hard, but to little avail 2-5, only 7 rebounds, zero blocked shots, and 7 points. But that's what an aroused Shaq can do to mere mortals.

    While the Pistons were awful, it wasn't because they didn't have good looks at the basket. Credit the Heat's relentless defense for Detroit's dismal .333 shooting percentage, but the Pistons also missed numerous open shots.

    Why, then, does a championship-caliber team miss so many gimmes in such a critical game? Because, deep down in the secret chambers of their respective hearts, and despite their public blustering about playing best with their backs to the wall, the team no longer believed in themselves, and didn't believe in their coach.

    They refused to pay the price of greatness by cruising through most of the regular season instead of working hard every minute in every game. Their flaws were laziness, and hubris. And when they began to reap the rotten crops they had been sowing since last November, rather than hold themselves responsible, they blamed Flip Saunders.

    What happens next?

    The Pistons' players must take some hard looks in the mirror. Saunders must take screaming-meemie lessons. And Joe Dumars must decide how drastically his roster must be renovated.

    Meanwhile, perhaps the Big Revenger just might send a get-well card to Doctor Buss.
    Find a new slant.

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