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Piston High / Low: No answer for Thomas in loss to the Celtics

Isaiah Thomas led the Boston charge and helped extend the Pistons’ losing streak to three.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons had their chances but ultimately lost to the Boston Celtics 113-109, thanks in large part to Isaiah Thomas’ 41 points and eight assists.

To the film!


It’s a shame to waste such a good statistical night from Andre Drummond on a loss but below is a rebound that only a handful of players can get to:

Four on one but that “one” is Dre. 28 points and 22 rebounds is awesome, more of that please.


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a rough shooting night but this helped:

He turns the corner on a good perimeter defender in Marcus Smart and makes an aggressive move to the hoop. Drummond occupies Al Horford and helps to clear the lane.


Thomas scored 24 fourth-quarter points but none on this sequence:

Smith fights over top of the Horford screen to block the shot, ignite the fastbreak and finish above the rim.


The KCP-Drummond two man game can be really effective:

Horford gets caught trying to defend both the ball handling KCP and the rolling Drummond. That never works. Jonas Jerebko was late to the party.


Below, Marcus Morris finishes the mismatch (high) but no one properly gets back:

The result is an immediate “low.” Both Ish Smith and Stanley Johnson let the Celtics run right past them.


Defending the pick and roll has been a problem all year. Boston is no different than the 29 other teams in the league in that the P&R is a large part of their offense - not good for Detroit.


Sets up this:

It’s the same exact play with one small change.

First, Reggie Jackson fails to properly take away the Al Horford roll. He’s got to “bump” Horford and recover back to his man. If he doesn’t, Drummond has zero chance to stop the ball handler and his own rolling man. With a free path down the lane, Horford converts.

Second, Jackson negates the Horford roll by clogging the lane but doesn’t recover in time. Thomas makes the perfect read and makes the perfect pass.

Below is the same set up but with a third outcome.

This goal is to get KCP off Thomas and then run the IT/Horford pick and roll. As Drummond starts to hedge, Thomas smartly attacks the rim himself with little Pistons resistance.


Rotations are tricky and rely on everyone being on the same exact page. Above, as Thomas takes the handoff, he attacks the paint and finds a wide open Marcus Smart in the corner. Smart is open because Reggie Jackson had to cover the lane. Once Thomas dips below Marcus Morris, that corner pass becomes Morris’ responsibility.

Look, this whole “defense” thing ain’t easy. Hesitation on any single individual part throws the entire team off track.


Sometimes you just gotta tip your cap and move on.

Thomas stops on dime, rises up and hits the shot. Not much you can do.

Below, however, is not one of those “tip your cap” plays.

It’s a well-executed play, but the Pistons made it easier for Boston with both Jon Leuer and Stanley Johnson going with the cutting Smart. That leaves KCP to fight off the Amir Johnson screen and defend the IT shot by himself.


Careless with possessions:

This wasn’t the first time Morris and Smith have been lazy with the ball this season:


Jackson is probably in the right to double team Horford but again, not everyone is seeing the same thing. The result is an easy Boston bucket.


Pistons caught some breaks down the stretch but couldn’t capitalize:

I can live with the second Jackson shot - attacking the rim on a mismatch. But the first shot seems a tad forced and its four on one for the rebound.


The Pistons are now 21-27. Not fun.