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Pistons High/Low: Playing short-handed meant leaning on back of the bench players

Reviewing the good and bad from the Pistons visit to Miami.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons—minus Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson and Jon Leuer (paging Arnie Kander)—lost to the Miami Heat on the road 111-104 last night but it’s hardly a back-breaker.

Below, I’ll go over the offensive highlights and lowlights and save the defensive side for next Monday’s version of The Close Out.


With Drummond resting sore ribs, the opportunity for fan-favorite Boban Marjanovic to log meaningful minutes arose and Detroit looked to him early and often. Boban finished with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and three assists.

There aren’t too many players in the entire league who position themselves better than Boban. His traditional post-up frustrated Hassan Whiteside into early foul trouble much to the delight of DBB. After struggling to contain Marjanovic, the Heat blended in fronting the Pistons’ big man to mixed results:

A subtle strong-suit of Boban is sealing his defender when the ball is skipped or reversed:

He’s instant offense.


Per Synergy, Tobias Harris nets 1.263 PPP as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll yet these looks happen less than twice per game. As the screen-setter in the PNR, he has the tools to slip, roll or pop and just as important to be a decoy but again, it’s seldom used.

More of this please:


Speaking of PNRs, Dwight Buycks my friends:

Buycks finished with 14 points and four assists while slowly gaining trust from Stan Van Gundy and, more importantly, me.


Avery Bradley had a rough first night back shooting 6-for-19 but made two great screen reads leading to easy looks:

  1. Faded out when Josh Richardson cheated through middle to intercept Buycks’ pass.
  2. Curled when Richardson trailed.


In a basketball environment dead-set on keeping the ball out of the middle, it’s nice to have a lefty on the right side of the court. Luke Kennard accepting hand-offs and attacking with his strong hand is a slight advantage for Detroit but it doesn’t mean he can’t go (or finish) with his right, though:



Avery Bradley would get kicked out of the Houston Rockets’ practice in record time:

He sure loves those 15-20 footers. I laughed when Boston fans complained about this the last couple years but it’s not so funny anymore.

Bradley’s PPP on a hand-off sits at a mundane .813 mostly because he settles for the mid-range; I wonder what would happen if he attacked a bit more?

Probably something like this:


The only way 6-foot-1 Derrick Walton Jr has a chance at stealing the ball from 7-foot-3 Boban is if Marjanovic brings it down to his level:

I can’t be too mad as Boban is usually pretty good at keeping the ball high and playing to his strengths.


The floor shrinks as players move up in competition. Athletes in the NBA are head and shoulders bigger, faster and stronger than players in college and/or the G League. These types of passes have zero chance of getting through:


See you in Philadelphia.