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Pistons High / Low: How KCP and the bench topped the Pelicans

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Detroit’s bench uplifted the Pistons after things got sticky in the third quarter.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

Behind Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 38 points and the bench mob leaving their finger prints on the game in the second half, the Pistons topped the New Orleans Pelicans 118-98.

To the tape!

High

KCP

A majority of Caldwell-Pope’s 38 (40 if he makes those late FT’s) points came via the three pointer in which he made 8/11. Those makes can be broken down into half court and transition attempts.

Above, KCP owned the first quarter and made the Pelicans pay immediately off a casual Jrue Holiday pass and by simply pushing the ball.

In any successful half court offense, timing plays a huge role in determining if the ball goes through the hoop. Below, KCP doesn’t move until the timing is perfect:

Hitting 8-11 three point attempts does a lot of things including opening up other options that wouldn’t be there otherwise, because now, the defense is overly aggressive.

To the line.

And to the hoop:

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Bench

Tobias Harris shot an extremely efficient 9 of 13 on his way scoring 19 points. The “how” is very simple - he exploited mismatches:

And this:

Players must smell blood when the opportunity arises. Of Harris’ nine makes, eight were in the paint.

Stanley Johnson continues to get better as the season progress. He’s been instrumental in a handful of Pistons’ wins and is at his best when getting dirty:

Pretty simple. Don’t give up on the play and good things happen.

In probably the most memorable sequence of the game - Harris knocks down a turnaround jumper (on a mismatch), SJ snags a lazy Anthony Davis pass and then Ish Smith finds KCP for a corner three:

When New Orleans went on a 12-0 run to take an eight point lead in the third quarter, I don’t think I’m the only one that lost hope.

Low

Sometimes, numbers lie.

Andre Drummond gets the steal in the box score but he must recognize that after the initial switch with Ish Smith, he’s got to get back to Davis. If AD catches that ball, it’s an easy two. While the steal is nice, the execution is nothing short of luck.

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Davis is a top, what, five player on earth? How does nobody run at him?

It’s an odd play as Davis is the trailer but when Leuer goes with Holiday, Harris has got to sprint out to AD.

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I spent an unhealthy amount of time trying to figure out an explanation for Morris’ defense on this play. I, uh, I didn’t come up with anything.

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Remember how Harris took advantage of every NOP mismatch? Well, Drummond’s got to come up with something better than this:

This should be two points or at the foul line (save your free throw jokes). Coming up with nothing is unacceptable. This is “thing” with him, definitely not the first time.

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At 22-27, is there enough in the tank to make a postseason push?