Monday, February 3, 2014
3-on-3: Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat
The Pistons are in town to take on the Heat. Our 3-on-3 crew previews the action.
1. Fact or Fiction: Miami's big lineup is now its best lineup.
Tom Haberstroh: Fact. Key word: now. Until they are fully dedicated to playing small and making up for their size with speed, they'll need to lean on their "big" lineup. Two years ago, when Bosh wasn't a 3-point shooter, it made less sense. Now, with Bungee Bosh stretching the floor, it doesn't compromise the spacing with another big out there.
Michael Wallace: Fiction. As much as I'm a basketball traditionalist, the Heat's most productive lineup is one that has Shane Battier shooting well at the power forward spot and Bosh creating matchup nightmares at center. This was the curveball adjustment that won Miami two titles. Eventually, it'll prove to be Miami's money lineup down the stretch again.
Brian Windhorst: Fiction. I'm not ready to come to conclusions. The small lineup looked great when Shane Battier was defending Carmelo Anthony well and actually hitting shots. But you can see Erik Spoelstra working on that big lineup because Bosh is so much more comfortable at power forward. It will continue to be tested, ask me this again in a month.
2. Fact or Fiction: Detroit is the East's biggest underachiever.
Haberstroh: Fiction. I'll go with the Nets here, who admittedly have played much better over the last month. They were supposed to be competing for the top seed in the East and they're five games under .500 in February. Detroit has been a miserable disappointment, but no one was expecting them to realistically challenge for the East crown.
Wallace: Fiction. Any team that hinges their hopes of a major breakthrough on Mo Cheeks as coach and Josh Smith as a franchise-altering, free-agency acquisition is asking for disappointment. But for as much as the Pistons have stumbled from the gate, either team from the Big Apple would qualify for this distinction.
Windhorst: Fiction. Only if you believed Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith worked together. I never did. I thought it was a bad idea from the start and its looking that way. These are two of the lowest efficiency players of this generation, giving them huge contracts is one gamble. Putting them together made little sense to me. I expected this type of result: a few flashes of brilliance and a lot of leaving people wanting more. Isn't that how you could sum up their careers?
3. Fact or Fiction: LeBron will score 30 for a third straight game.
Haberstroh: Fiction. He hasn't the last six times he's gone against Josh Smith so I'll bet that trend continues. Also, there's a good chance that LeBron will be an observer in the fourth quarter, considering the opponent. I'm taking the under.
Wallace: Fact. Perhaps overlooked in his matchups this season with Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony has been the fact that LeBron has outscored both in three total meetings with the Thunder and Knicks. LeBron is at the start of one of those stretches when he's in a great offensive rhythm again, and he'll hang another 30 on Detroit. Easy.
Windhorst: Fiction. The Heat are feeling good about themselves. They'll play well as a team and LeBron won't need to push it to the finish line.