These games always happens during each season, when the NBA champions or one of the contenders falls in game they’re not supposed to. This time, the Miami Heat, without Dwyane Wade, couldn’t hold on to a big lead because the Detroit Pistons, thanks to excellent play off the bench, especially from Will Bynum.
There’s something about Bynum you can’t quite grasp. There’s nothing about him that makes him stand out among many other NBA backup guards packed with energy and spring. He doesn’t have an exceptional shot or an extremely high basketball IQ. He certainly isn’t the kind of point guard to build upon as your starter to make things happen in a more organized kind of offense. Once in a while, all that doesn’t matter, and he explodes, and actually gets the second unit to follow him.
Bynum finished with 25 points and 10 assists, while Brandon Knight got benched for most of the game and the Pistons continued to play their one-guard system, which worked for once, improving to 10-22 this season. After missing most of December, Bynum has now scored 56 points over the last two games. The Pistons, like the Heat, used only four players off the bench, but Bynum and his unit (along with Villanueva, Daye and Drummond) finished with 64 points, shooting 57.8% from the field and all finishing with double digit positive +/-.
FOr the Miami Heat, there wasn’t anything off the bench. LeBron James had another great game with 35 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals shooting 15-22 from the field. In the last 25 seasons, players with these kind of numbers while shooting over 60% from the field are Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and LeBron James. Just like his December numbers which are quite a rarity over the last 45 seasons (26.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 56.9% from the field), James is pulling off historic numbers.
He also had Chris Bosh to help him – Bosh finished with 28 points and 9 rebounds. The problem was the rest of the team – only 34.2% from the field, as Dwyane Wade served his one game suspension. Mike Miller, who started for the All-Star guard, finished with only 5 points, shooting 2-6 from the field. Ray Allen didn’t pick up his scoring as necessary, scoring only 9 points on a terrible 3-13 shooting night, as he’s hitting a rough stretch during the season, averaging 9.5 points while shooting 43.5% from the field in December.
Both teams played with a more front-court heavy style, which helped the Pistons, as Bosh found it hard to handle all the big bodies in the paint, allowing the Pistons to score 48 of their 109 points in the paint. Again, Will Bynum’s energy was what made the difference, according to Heat players as well.
He was amazing. He controlled the game with his motor and his offense. He was hitting everything and he was getting everyone else involved. We couldn’t do anything with him.
That’s the case sometimes. For teams like the Pistons, a visit from one of the best teams in the NBA sometimes gives them the right kind of spark and energy boost to climb over the quality difference. For the Heat, after a big win in December and a tense win over the Bobcats, costing them Wade for a single contest, there just wasn’t enough of it.