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Pistons High / Low: Picks and rolls all over the place in the thrilling win in Portland

Film don’t lie.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

It took two overtimes and an extra day but the Pistons left Portland with a win. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.


The fans of the Pistons let out a collective “every time” after Andre Drummomd converted:

He can make it look so easy.

This should happen every time Ish Smith takes the ball to the cup:

Please follow that man until you see the ball go through the hoop.


Examples like Ish Smith’s defense below are comically underrated:

There is no fast break dunk without Ish Smith stopping the ball on the opposite end. Smith greets McCollum above the free throw line, absorbs the hit and strips the ball. Textbook transition defense.


Here’s a new look:

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope receives a double pick from Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris on the far sideline. While the initial action failed, it set up a Harris drive (to his left, which he loves) and a nice dump off pass to Drummond. The spacing seems odd with KCP still lingering on the same side but A+ for newness.


Three examples of Reggie Jackson picking on Meyers Leonard:

I despise the sagging big scheme on a pick and roll; you’re basically hanging him out to dry. Leonard has no chance and it just boils down to whether or not Jackson makes the shot.



Not necessarily a “low” but a peek into the Trail Blazers playbook:

Same Set

Option 1. Flair screen to set up an easy McCollum jumper.

Option 2. Look off the flair screen; give and (eventual) go between Damian Lilliard and Mason Plumlee.

Option 3. Ignore flair; strong side curl.


These next two are definitely low.

All five Blazers are near or below the free throw line when Lilliard collects the rebound. Jackson and KCP are balancing the floor and back on D (kinda):

Al-Farouq Aminu - who defended the corner Harris three - beats everyone down the floor including Reggie and Caldwell-Pope.

Remember Ish Smith stopping the ball? This is the exact opposite as exampled by Reggie Jackson:


Damian Lilliard vs. Andre Drummond (as the pick and roll defender).

Again, I hate defending the pick and roll like this:

First, Lilliard blows past Dre and does his best Steph Curry corner-three-after-a-drive-and-dish impersonation. Next, Dre gets bumped by Allen Crabbe before having Dame leave him in the dust.

This “blame” isn’t on Drummond as he’s doing whats asked of him to the best of his abilities. It’s just that Lilliard - and most other lead guards in the present day NBA - are awesome at their job.

Need more proof?

CJ McCollum vs. Andre Drummond (as the pick and roll defender):

Dre doesn’t stand a chance and it’s no wonder that was the exact play the Trail Blazers tried to win the game with (only with a half court screen to give McCollum even more room).

At worst, the Pistons should try and mix up their P&R defense. Hard hedge, feathering (making the point guard go towards the sideline) anything but status quo. Get the ball out of the Lilliard/McCollum types and live with the consequences.

There were certainly times when Dame or CJ missed shots in this situation BUT they were good, clean looks.

See you in Sacramento.