Evident Change In Detroit
Four months ago at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee I watched the Pistons embarrass themselves on both ends of the ball. The final score that night was 109-88 in the Bucks’ favor. Nearly a third of a year later, I re-entered Milwaukee’s basketball stadium and witnessed an affair that many would say was the exact opposite of the November meeting between the Pistons and the Bucks.
The differences between the team I saw in the late fall and the team I watched last night came in two different areas. Effective schematics on the offensive side and defensive resilience were two things Detroit lacked early on in the season, but last night they definitely showed they are capable of demonstrating those two facets of the game. The addition of Tobias Harris definitely helped spark the rejuvenated Pistons offense. The team shot 12/28 from three-point land last night. In the November meeting the team shot 6/28 from beyond the permieter.
Head coach of Detroit, Stan Van Gundy was very pleased with his team’s shooting last night. He told the media, “Early on, I thought our guys did a very good job of seeing open men, finding open men and getting the ball to them. Those 3s were basically wide-open, rhythm 3s and those are good.”
When watching the spectacular show the Pistons put on for me last night, it seemed very evident that everyone on the team knew what their role was. Four months ago, this was definitely not the case. Players used to seem confused in Van Gundy’s offense. Isolations were a huge part of the Pistons’ arsenal early on in the season. In half of a season, Detroit has gone from looking like the Houston Rockets to looking like the San Antonio Spurs on offense.
Milwaukee had no answer defensively for Detroit last night, and the box score definitely reflected that. Jackson continually drove to the basket, drawing multiple defenders and kicked the ball out to an open man on the perimeter. This simple offensive scheme is almost fool proof, and many would say it’s remarkable it took this long for Detroit to start playing the way they have played these past few games, but better late than never.
Defensively, players communicated and switched on every screen last night. Crazy enough, this was something that the team failed to execute in November.
Detroit is only a half game out of the playoffs and only two and a half games behind the fourth best team in the eastern conference. With plenty of basketball still to be played, Detroit fans should be very hopeful and optimistic regarding their team’s near future. The improvement this team has made since the beginning of the season is almost unfathomable.
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