If I told you that the Heat were 2nd in the Eastern Conference going into this game, would you believe me? The Pistons absolutely dominated the Heat by winning 104-81. They took a six-point first quarter lead and built it up to 17 by halftime, and never looked back.
It was nice to see the Pistons break out of their season-long shooting slump by shooting 16-31 from three. That is the most threes they have made in a game this season. The Pistons came into this game ranked last in the league in three-point shooting. How does that happen against the No. 1 defense in the league?
The Pistons were supposed to be a team that would be near the top in three-point shooting, on paper. They brought in shooters in the offense, and built an offense that somewhat simulates the 4-out 1-in offense that Stan Van Gundy ran in Orlando. Those Orlando teams were near the top in three-point shooting, as they were built around creating space for a dominant big man in Dwight Howard.
The Pistons showed signs of being a very good 3 point shooting team in the preseason, where they ranked 3rd in the league at 37 percent on 26.5 attempts per game. Once the regular season came along, the shooting went away. The Pistons were still finding ways to win, from dominating the glass to playing solid defense.
As an offense that is based so heavily on three-point shooting, it is no surprise that the Pistons' have struggled on offense this season. The dominant win over the Heat was a step in the right direction.
As I mentioned earlier, the Pistons shot 16-31 from deep in this game. That is 52 percent! There were players that were in season-long slumps, like Anthony Tolliver, that were lighting it up from deep. Tolliver was 4-6 in this game, and that should hopefully go a long way toward helping him break his shooting funk. Reggie Jackson was 4-5 from 3, Marcus Morris was 2-3, and Ersan Illyasova was 3-4. Even Darrun Hilliard shot 100 percent (on one attempt)!
Even on a night where KCP shot 2-15 from the field and 1-6 from 3, the Pistons found a way to dominate because their shooters were finally hitting their shots. Sure, it is just one game, but shooting is something that confidence plays a big role in. When shooters are struggling, confidence plays a huge role in that struggle. Seeing so many shots go in from downtown on Wednesday night should restore confidence in the shooters of this team.
It is only one game, and this team has a long way to go before they can say that their shooting and offense is fixed. The Heat were ranked No. 1 in defensive efficiency, though, and the Pistons lit them up and made it look like there were only 4 defenders out there. The shooters got open, and they made their shots. That is how it should have been already, but it was still great to see on Wednesday night.