El Heat sans Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and one of Mike Miller's legs are very beatable. That's not to say they're not good, because they are -- any team with LeBron James is probably capable of winning 50 games. But, as Kevin said in the preview, the Pistons had a chance of sneaking one out
without anybody else at the dinner table noticing in Miami against a very depleted, and likely tired, team coming off of a loss in New York less than 24 hours earlier.
It certainly felt like the Pistons were going to steal it, too. After all, they led for more than 36 minutes. The Heat had the lead for less than half AH quarter, but all that matters is who owns the lead when the clock hits all zeros. Match point, Miami.
When you're shooting less than 40-percent against LeBron and surviving on Chris Wilcox tip-ins, you're living on the MFedge. And because the Pistons couldn't pull away down the stretch, LeBron was given an opportunity to go into take-over mode ... with, um, Eddie House.
Over the final six minutes, with the Pistons clinging to a six-point lead, Detroit shot just 33% (4-12) and were outscored 16-9 -- by LeBron and House. That's right, Eddie House had nine points and LeBron had seven (with two assists) in the final six minutes, and everybody else on the Heat had floor seats.
There was some contention over House's final two points, specifically whether or not he was actually fouled (in the act of shooting) by Ben Gordon with six seconds left in the game. Live it appeared Gordon defended it (surprisingly) well and House was out of control. The first replay confirmed. However, upon further review, House in fact gave a nice subtle head fake that induced Gordon to jump before House ultimately took his wild looking shot. That minor difference in timing led Gordon's extended arm to knock House on his shooting wrist, albeit slightly, which is probably what drew the whistle. You can kind of see where Gordon's hand is headed --for House's wrist -- in this screen grab below:
Still kind of a weak call, especially when you consider the Pistons final play where Austin Daye may or may not have been fouled on his game-winning oop attempt. The play Kuester drew up was brilliant and gutsy. There's no telling what option Daye was considering it took almost four-plus seconds for it to develop, but Daye was wide open for an easy oop given Prince provided the useful alley -- and he did -- so that's all that matters. The Pistons had a chance to win it, but unfortunately Daye couldn't flush it.
The screenshot below (and what I saw on a dozen replays) suggests Daye didn't get a good enough grip on the ball or high enough above the rim to finish properly.
His body is almost leaning away from the rim -- and that's before Jones puts his hand up on Daye's belly -- and the ball doesn't get completely above the rim until it's too late, when it's then thrown completely over it. Jones may have also grazed Daye's wrist/hand, but I don't think that had any affect on the shot -- it was already a miss. This is where Daye adding some strength/bulk will allow him to finish these in the future. He definitely should've been able to finish this even with some incidental contact.
In the end, this loss is just another on a long list of heart breakers, games the Pistons had in the final minutes, even seconds, but let slip from their fingers -- literally.
- Daye still had a nice game in the starter's role - 19 points (on 17 shots, though), 9 rebounds, and hit a go-ahead three-pointer with a minute left.
- Tracy McGrady was 2 rebounds away from curly fries -- he had 8 with over a minute left in the 3rd quarter and didn't grab another the rest of the game. He had 14 points on a bad 6-17 (although he started 0-8) and 10 assists.
- The cringe-worthy Tayhaun Prince isolation with under half-a-minute was given a lot of crap in the comments (myself included), but the Heat deserve credit for forcing it. The Pistons were actually moving the ball around, trying to make something happen, but the Heat were all over whatever it was the Pistons scripted. With about 8 seconds left on the shot clock they settled for the Tay iso.
- Chris Wilcox had the quietest double-double (10 &10)
- I say this with gritted teeth: LeBron is very, very good. 39 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists.
- Gordon had 21 points on 8-16 shooting (3-7 from downtown). He was 0-2 shooting in the 4th quarter.
- Charlie Villanueva is probably still feeling that ankle -- 6 points on 2-10 shooting in 22 minutes
- Will Bynum was in the building: 0-5 shooting in 13 minutes. Three of those misses came in the 4th quarter.
- Richard Hamilton was supposedly not in the building, but was in Miami.
- Box Score
- AROUND THE NBA: Surprised to hear Kevin Garnett committed a dirty foul? KG will issue an official statement sometime today suggesting he didn't mean to sack tap Channing Frye; he was merely checking his testicles for cancerous lumps (oh, and listen to how stupid Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson sound during all this):
Last night's Roll Call: dandresden, Fadel, C$, garrettelliott, brgulker, Birdman84, -PS-, Packey, Gabe F-B, alaskanpistonsfan, bugman222, heWizard, Taiwanese Tora, deadlything, Roll The Dyess, Trout Jefferson, Mike Payne, DBB Diablo, Toledo Joe, RoscoeJacksonJr, Kriz, freywagg, Uncommon Sense, Teal Stallion, rovitz707, HEY!, Danny D, kenshi, don'tworryaboutit, Wheaties, gordbrown, Rodney Stuckey, Shinons, JumpingBlob, GaryN, Ol Dirty Harry, tads
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Name # of Posts dandresden 59 Trout Jefferson 53 RoscoeJacksonJr 49 Danny D 35 heWizard 30 bugman222 27 kenshi 25 Birdman84 23 Packey 22 -PS- 22 brgulker 16 Wheaties 15 DBB Diablo 12 Mike Payne 11 Roll The Dyess 11 Fadel 11 Gabe F-B 8 gordbrown 7 Uncommon Sense 6 Shinons 5 deadlything 5 alaskanpistonsfan 5 Teal Stallion 3 GaryN 3 JumpingBlob 2 Toledo Joe 2 HEY! 2 garrettelliott 2 freywagg 2 rovitz707 2 C$ 1 Ol Dirty Harry 1 tads 1 Rodney Stuckey 1 don'tworryaboutit 1 Kriz 1 Taiwanese Tora 1