The win against the Heat and the loss against the Pacers had one thing in common: both opponents came out on fire. Most of that was just players hitting shots. The difference being the Heat started to miss and the Pacers never cooled off.
Lets take a look.
Most offenses have a read-and-react component to it and below is a great example of the same play with completely different outcomes.
First, Jon Leuer reverses the ball to Andre Drummond to set the action into motion. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will head to the baseline to seemingly receive a screen from Reggie Jackson. However, KCP reverses course and heads back (thanks to a Marcus Morris screen) to where he started and takes a handoff from Drummond. As the defense scrambles, Dre makes a beeline to the hoop and catches a perfectly thrown lob from KCP:
Now, same scenario in that Leuer reverses the ball and KCP heads to the baseline. Instead of coming back on the same side, though, KCP uses an Ish Smith (in Reggie Jackson’s place above) and Leuer screen to take the dribble handoff from Drummond on the opposite side. The defense reacts to Calpdwell-Pope leaving Leuer wide open:
How about one more featuring Boban!
Again, same set, same play but different personnel and different outcome:
It’s a standard top-of-the-key double screen for the Jackson/Smith. Options off this set are unlimited: rolling big, top of the key three, ball handler penetration, high-low by screen setters, mophatt1 in the corner. Pick your poison.
This is exactly what the Pistons had in mind when constructing this team:
On back-to-back possessions, the Jackson-Drummond pick and roll nets five points. First an alley-oop, then - after I assume Tyler Johnson got scolded from the sideline - a corner(ish) KCP three ball.
Man, if we could play this version of the Heat a couple more times, we’d be all right.
Basketball is an easy game if you let it be. If the defense double teams, someone is open. Make yourself be seen and you will get the ball:
Both KCP and Drummond do a good job of putting themselves in Leuer’s vision. Their reward? An open look.
This is just bad hoops IQ:
On a fast break, don’t give your sprinting big the ball 20 feet away from the rim.
This is just bad communication:
Josh Richardson does not need the attention of both Caldwell-Pope and Jackson. One of you has got to stay with shooter. Talk it out.
This is just bad effort:
Not sure you can call what Paul George did there a screen but it was enough to get in the way of Drummond, who reluctantly challenged Myles Turner.
Turner finished with one hoop in the paint and while it’s not all on Drummond, his history of defending shooting bigs is not good.
Again, Drummond plants himself directly in no man’s land. His body follows the entry pass but doesn’t commit to a double team nor does he put himself in a position to contest another Turner jumper.
We can all agree that Drummond is a helluva athlete but you couldn’t tell from these possessions:
This isn’t on Dre, it’s on the scheme. As-is, his job is to sit back and deter penetration from the ball handler. Every once in a while - especially against a slow footed big such as Al Jefferson - I’d love to see him hedge hard and recover, he definitely has the ability. Once the ball handler is allowed to turn the corner, Drummond is in a tough situation. A hard hedge does require incredible effort so maybe I just answered my own question.
Cue Steve Hinson:
This possession ends up with two points but the shot selection by Drummond is awful.
Drummond collected 45 points and 32 rebounds in these two games: what the hell do we make of him?