Where: Amway Center practice facility
When: July 10, 2015, 10AM ET
Watch: NBA TV
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
In a delightful twist, the summer league scheduling has pitted, for a second time, the Detroit Stanimals against the Miami Winslows. After picking up a comprehensive win over Indiana in their previous fixture, the Pistons finished on 16 points total, thanks to two total wins and 8 quarter wins, resulting in fourth place on the ladder and a spot in the 3rd vs. 4th matchup on championship day. Miami actually finished regular play undefeated thanks to a 4-0 record and 25 points, equal with second placed Memphis. However, as Miami only won 9 quarters as opposed to Memphis' 9.5, Memphis finished above Miami, and therefore will play the surprisingly good Orlando White team in the championship game.
Detroit coasted to a comfortable victory in their previous summer league outing, with a 25 point thrashing of the Indiana Pacers, 90-65. In the game, Stanley Johnson recorded his first professional double-double with a dominating 20 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 8-15 from the field and adding 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 26 minutes of game time. The other Pistons rostered players also performed admirably. Spencer Dinwiddie had 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, while limiting his turnovers to just 2, which had been a problem for him. Darrun Hilliard also had a good game, finishing with 14 points (5-15 FG), 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
The 2015 draft picks have both been strong thus far, but Johnson has been on another level. After a strong showing in his debut, he exploded with his 24 point burst against the Clippers, and has been tremendous ever since. He has been remarkably efficient from the field, shooting in the 60s, and has used his strength and big frame to make himself look like a man among boys. Incidentally, one of his weaknesses coming out of college was supposedly that he had trouble finishing around the basket. Well, it may only be summer league, and the caliber of defence he faces will increase as his career progresses, but he has looked strong thus far.
Miami rounded out their perfect mini-regular-season with a 2 point triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers, 87-85. Justise Winslow, perhaps being saved for this game or the Las Vegas summer league, only played 8 minutes, with his only statistical contributions being 2 missed field goals, a personal foul and a turnover. The Heat were led by Willie Reed, with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. However, Reed won't likely even play in this game, as he has been snared by the Brooklyn Nets, according to Real GM's Shams Charania.
Free agent Willie Reed has reached agreement with the Brooklyn Nets on a one-year deal, mostly guaranteed, league sources tell RealGM.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 9, 2015
If the report is true, then Reed will likely be pulled from today's game, leaving a soft spot in Miami's interior. The real Josh Smith, the one who weighs 360 pounds, could fill in at starting center, but he lacks the conditioning to be a prolonged contributor. Just as well, as the Pistons have no one with the size or strength to deal with him inside, as shown in the first matchup.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Stanley Johnson
Johnson has been magnificent this summer league, and has catapulted himself into running for MVP of the tournament, along with Indiana's Myles Turner and Orlando Blue's Aaron Gordon. Gordon may have the edge due to his gaudy numbers, but Johnson has been turning some heads and proving experts and Chad Ford wrong thus far.
Heat: Justise Winslow
If he plays a large amount of this game, expect to see the same tactics as the first game. Namely, barrelling into the defence and getting bailed out with foul calls. His jumpshot has been off thus far, so going under any screens is a must. Also, despite his ball-dominant role, he hasn't picked up many assists, and his rebounding is below what was expected. Still, expect him to reserve his best for his newest rival.
The potential loss of Willie Reed, limitations on Justise Winslow, and injury to Tyler Johnson, who suffered a broken jaw and lost tooth against the Clippers, could weaken the Heat already without Shabazz Napier and Henry Walker. I wonder if Miami will just pack it in and rest up ahead of Las Vegas, as they have a game tomorrow.
Edit: Napier played against the Clippers, so it would appear he's returned from his sports hernia.
Detroit 85, Miami 76