I've been stewing over the Pistons 2-4 start and began doing some light research regarding their meltdown defense in three of their first six games. Sure, it's a small sample size, but I couldn't help thinking about the 36, 44, and 40 point quarters, respectively, the Pistons have allowed opponents to put up on them this year. The outcomes in all three were losses.
Call me old fashioned or whatever you want, but I'm a firm believer that allowing 40 points in a single quarter is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances, unless maybe, it is matched. For as bad as we thought last year's team was, Detroit never allowed 40+ points in a quarter. Not once. They allowed 35+ points in a single quarter just four times all year and lost all four.
If you think last year's defense was significantly better than this year's team, you might be right. That just isn't the case so far. This year's team has been very good defensively, even with the single quarter meltdowns. Last year's defense at the end of the year was ranked 8th of 30 teams compared to this year's team that is currently ranked 10th.
In just six games, Detroit has allowed 35+ points in a quarter three times already, including the two 40+ point debacles. As I already said, all three resulted in losses.
Patrick Hayes over at MLIVE asked the question that many of us have probably asked ourselves, "why one bad quarter?" in his recap of last night's game. He had this to offer as part of his response:
Minus the first, Detroit outscored Orlando by 10 and actually forced them into pretty lousy shooting after the hot start. Against Toronto, they were outscored 44-28 in the second, then outscored the Raps by five the rest of the way. Why? Slow rotation to perimeter shooters.
I was thinking this while watching the game against Orlando last night. It appears Detroit is overcompensating for their lack of big men in the middle, thus leaving the perimeter wide open and not getting back to their man in time to contest the shot.
I realize Orlando relies heavily on the outside shot, they score at will, and have had another 40+ point quarter already this season, but I'm not willing to give all the credit in the world to Orlando, even if they do deserve a significant portion of it. Detroit needs to do a better job rotating and sticking with their man as he fades back behind the three point line.
Again, it's a small sample size thus far, but Detroit is allowing seven more three point tries per game this year than they did last year. Opponents attempted more than 25 three pointers just four times last year. This year, Detroit opponents have already attempted 25+ three point attempts in a game twice, albeit both were Orlando who was one of the four that attempted 25+ last year (the other three were by the Knicks).
Now, don't misconstrue this post as me being overly concerned with the Pistons. They're a new-look team and are going to get better. It's just disappointing that they have allowed three 35+ point quarters already in this short season, when they allowed just five of them last season and none over 40. The problem, to me, seems to be with their perimeter defense, which is more than curable.
Of course, this is just one man's opinion while citing another man's opinion. I'm interested in hearing what you think about these three big quarters against the Pistons? What types of solutions could be made? What direction do you see the Pistons headed after just six games?