The Pistons didn’t trail at all in the first quarter Wednesday night against Cleveland, unfortunately they lost the next 3 quarters by a combined 22 points falling to the Cavs 107-90. LeBron James decided he wanted to impose his will on Detroit’s front court and led the Cavs with an efficient 27pts on 72.2 eFG%. James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and JR Smith accounted for 86 of Cleveland’s 107pts. Andre Drummond shouldered the scoring load for Detroit with 20 points and 7 rebounds, however no one had a wildly efficient night for the Pistons; as the team shot 43% from the field.
43% from the field isn’t winning you many regular season games, let alone a playoff game against the #1 seed on the road. Stan Van Gundy has been more than willing to throw different looks at the Cavs both offensively and defensively, something he will need to continue if the Pistons have any hope of winning 1 or 2 home games and making this a series. With that said, let’s look at a couple of these adjustments SVG has made and look forward to what types of moves he may use in Game 3.
Lebron struggled in the 1st quarter but was able to getting going in the 2nd, scoring 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting in the second quarter alone. A majority James’ points in the quarter came against Detroit’s notoriously bad 2nd unit. The 7-minute stretch in the without a starter on the floor evaporated any gains the starting unit had made for Detroit. While the starters were able to regain the lead after coming back in in the 2nd, the game never felt quite the same.
SVG did a great job of avoiding playing all of his bench players together in game 1 and played a majority of minutes with at least 2 or 3 starters on the floor. Limiting the amount of time the bench mob is on the floor will be huge for Detroit in Game 3. SVG will need to find the perfect balance of playing his starters enough so the 2nd unit cannot cause issues, while still giving the starters enough rest to be effective against Cleveland’s deadly Love at Center lineup.
Marcus Morris scored 19 points in the first half of Game 1, yet he and Tobias Harris combined to shoot 5-22 from the field on Wednesday night. Although struggling to finish, it was still nice to see the pair of forwards attacking, as it lead to them being a combined 13-14 from the FT line. The two also did well handling the ball, despite not finishing, Tobias Harris only had 1 TO, while Mook had 2.
This major problem for the forwards was on the other end of the court, where they struggle (along with Stanley Johnson) to prevent LeBron from doing every single thing he wanted to do on the court. The Pistons’ attempted to guard LeBron in a more straight up fashion in Game 2 rather than throwing multiple switches and double teams at him as they had in Game 1, this won’t work. No single Detroit defender can handle the load of slowing down LBJ, it must be a team effort.
Another way the Pistons should look to slow down James is by making him work a little more defensively. The forwards shoot a lot, but as usual with the Pistons they usually came off of ISO’s or backside reversals. On both of those play types, all LeBron must do is maintain solid position and he can effectively disrupt those plays.
However, if Detroit were to look at running more 3-5 PNR sets, it may be something that could wear down LeBron, who has already played more playoff games than MJ did his whole career. Guarding ‘Dre off of switches is no easy task and could possibly take LeBron’s legs out from under him a bit, hopefully making him less effective on D.
So I had more notes written but I have to get back to real work so I will just steal from my favorite writer Zach Lowe and do a 2 things I like and 2 things I didn’t
2 things I like/2 things I didn’t like.
Dislike – Andre’s post position
I will write many, many articles on Andre’s post game. He isn’t doing a good job of sealing defenders when he gets position and is allowing them to push him out from under the hoop. Those few feet are the difference between a 70-80% layup and a 30-40% jump hook.
Like – Reggie Getting to the rack with K-Love at C
Reggie was great slashing to the hoop Wednesday night, especially when the Cavs put Love or Frye at C. This can be a major driver of offense for that lineup, especially given Andre’s recent struggles with getting position.
Like – Stanley’s defiance of Lebron
Stanley Johnson isn’t afraid of LeBron at all… And it’s awesome! It also really gets me excited for the prospects of his development.
Dislike – Defensive Adjustments
Detroit switched everything in game 1 at some points, but stopped once LeBron started exploiting it. In Game 2 the Pistons started going over everything and having the big sag back, which caused Kyrie to hit some shots. As I said before, I just do not believe Detroit has changed up their defensive strategy frequently enough to keep Cleveland from getting comfortable.