Tonight Tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7:30PM EST. the Pistons will be welcoming the Miami Heat to the Palace once again. Pistons are on 3 days rest after clinching a playoffs berth against the Wizards on Friday, (was that Friday? It must have been Friday. Yeah it was Friday.) and the Heat are on one days rest following a win over Magic on Sunday.
The Them: It took one more season than many thought it might, but the Heat have returned to form as a really good team again. This season has largely been a success, especially considering that Chris Bosh has missed so much time. One thing to keep in mind, (although nothing will be announced till tomorrow Afternoon) is that any number of players from either team could end up resting/playing limited minutes. Hassan Whiteside has come alive in an even bigger way than he already had since the Chris Bosh injury, coming off the bench (unless they rest STAT again, which they did last game.) he has been scoring more, and while still hugely frustrating, he is more engaged on both ends of the floor. Goran Dragic has also found a bit of a second wind, after being largely disappointing the first half of the season, the Heat are playing faster lately and he is doing much better with the faster offense, and he plays good defense. Dwyane Wade's old man game is glorious and effective, although there is some debate as to how much he actually helps the Heat, he is still a really effective offensive option to be sure. And Loul Deng is still the quintessential 3 and D wing who can defend damn near anyone and also can occasionally do some good stuff on offense, even beyond just shoot 3s. Joe Johnson rounds out their really small starting lineup and he has also had a resurgence since heading to Miami, in his age he can struggle to defend people, but he can still shoot from deep, and is still one of the hardest 1 on 1 covers in the NBA. Amar'e Stoudemire actually managed to play in more than half the games this season, and is still a kind of ok offensive player, although he might not play. Josh Richardson is looking like the 2nd round steal of the year at the PG spot, and he can freaking shoot the 3. (although if you watched the last Pistons/Heat game you know that.) Gerald Green can't defend anything but can still score in bunches, Justice Winslow can defend pretty damn near anyone but does not do damn near anything on offense. And Josh McRoberts is still a super cool passing big who can also shoot a bit. All in all this is a team that has a really good coach and has guys that are good and smart players who the coach can take full advantage of. I don't buy them pushing the Cavs, but they are a really solid team.
Matchups to watch:
*Rest: *Once again, we don't know if anyone is resting or not, but it could have a big impact on the game depending on who it would be. But for the rest of the recap I'm going to assume everyone is playing.
Andre vs. Whiteside: Even if Whiteside does not start, he will get the majority of minutes. They are both athletic freaks (in different ways) and should be going at each other in a big way for a lot of the game. And the thing that I have enjoyed about watching them is that they both are capable of beating the other in a area in a big way. Hassan is so stinking long that he can give Andre trouble simply because there are few guys who Andre even has to think about being blocked by. But Andre is big enough that he gives Hassan serious trouble as well. This will be an important matchup in the game.
Reggie vs. Goran: The Heat rely less on Goran to initiate the offense than the Pistons rely on Reggie, but they both are really important in the offenses. And they both are long athletes. Reggie is of course coming off an absolutely monster game against the Wizards so it will be interesting to see how he follows that up, but Goran is capable of hurting you in different ways than most guys do so Reggie (or KCP possibly) will have a hard assignment on defense as well.
Pistons vs. Guarding the Heat backcourt: Wade has occasionally given KCP some real issues with his size (although not always, Wade is notorious for his on/off switch) and with Joe Johnson and Deng at the forward spots there is no respite lower down the line. So one of Reggie or KCP will have to take Wade, and the other on Dragic. I do think that they are fully capable of handling that matchup, but if the Pistons can find the happy medium of how often to have KCP guard either Wade or Dragic will be important to the Pistons winning.
Bench vs. Eternal Sadness: Holy crap the bench got torched the last time these two teams played, Richardson made a fool of Steve Blake (and others, but especially Blake) and the Pistons bench has to find some way to guard him. With the emergence of Richardson, the Heat actually have a pretty decent bench mob, so the Pistons need to find a way to not get blown out with the bench mobs on the court.
So in conclusion...
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre is bullying Whiteside down low/White side seems kind of loopy.
KCP is eating up whichever of Wade or Dragic he guards, and Reggie is holding strong on the other.
The Pistons bench does not go -20.
Run for the hills if:
Whiteside is smoking Andre consistently while Andre looks a bit out of sorts again.
Joe Johnson decides to randomly have one of his crazy scoring games.
Josh Richardson scores 20 points by halftime.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Joe Johnson will score many points.
One of the Mobias monster has a awesome game.
Pistons ride Mobias and Andre to a win.
If everyone plays this should be a fun game, but then again, 2 of their games have been blowouts in opposite directions this season so who knows for sure lol.
What do you think? Think Reggie will go off again? Should the Pistons go for the 7th seed or rest guys? Let me know! We all get smarter!
A quick heart to heart and a question: This will get a little ramble-y so strap in a moment. Just a train of thought from me to you. Ok so in case you didn't see it in one of my other posts, I am going to be in China for a pretty good portion of the summer. I will actually be leaving before the playoffs are decided. But here is the deal. I am going to try and find some way to make some money while I am over there because otherwise I would not only be paying for an expensive trip to China, but would be losing like 2 months worth of income. I work like 30-40 hours a week and go to school during the not summer so that would be kind of problematic to miss out on lol. As it stood I was probably not going to have much time to write any posts while there, but I had the thought of trying to find someone to make posts for this summer while there to make a little money, but got rejected by almost every one of them for "Lack of writing qualifications." And the offers I did get, paid either nothing or almost nothing, and all of them had the qualification of that I could not interact with ya'll over here on the Pistons subreddit. I could post links to a post I did, but I could not comment on it here. (which I was not much interested in.) So I had pretty much surrendered to the thought of not being able to do much until I got back. But I had a thought, if there was some interest, I could make a patreon page, and then I could call making these posts here my source of income while I was there. I could still get to make posts, ya'll could get some Pistons coverage in your life during the offseason, and I could still make at least a little money. So mostly, I was wondering what ya'll would think of that? HOWEVA I MUST BE CLEAR I am not saying that I will do no posts if there was no support, and I would harbor no ill will or anything like that. I am not here like "omg I work so hard give me money." You do not owe me anything, this has been a super fun thing for me and I have enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. The best way to support my posts is still to simply say your own thoughts on the Pistons, and that will not change. I just think it would be cool if I could justify spending some real time on offseason posts while I was there.
What posts would you be doing in the offseason anyways? Well, there would be at least like 15. Because I am going to do a season recap and breakdown for each player+SVG+team as a whole. And once again, depending on time constraints, I could do plenty else, from looking at potential free agents to going in depth at some draft prospects. (although the draft prospects would require a lot of time lol. I've already explained that I don't watch much college ball.) And beyond that, I could just combine my brain power with all of you to find interesting things to look at with the Pistons, from KCP's longterm fit, to what the next step in Andre's progression should be. I will be gone about 2 months, so I think I could find enough stuff to fill it in.
TL;DR I am going to China, gotta make at least a little money. If ya'll had interest in throwing a few cents my way so I could justify doing lots of posts while gone it would be awesome. If not, I still love ya because you have all been super dope all season.