In last night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons, Cleveland led by 29 points one minute into the fourth quarter at 79-50 and both teams subbed their scrubs into the game. Well, the Pistons’ backups came ready to play and in the next couple minutes, Detroit went on a 27-5 run, cutting the Cavs’ lead to 7.
All of a sudden, the Pistons were back in the game. Just as quick as they got back in the game though, Detroit found themselves down 91-77 , because they had put their starters back in the game.
Games 1 and 2 have proven that the Detroit starters cannot compete with the Cavs top guys. They may steal a game in Detroit out of pure adrenaline, but I don’t even see that happening. The Cavs are going to beat the Pistons’ starters 90 out of 100 times. It was clear all game last night that it was not one of the 10% of times the Pistons’ starters.
If the starters only have a 15% chance of winning against Cleveland’s top players than the reserves, the scrubs, must have a 1% chance of winning. From the first three quarters, it was clear that Detroit was not going to win with it starters on the court. However, the surge in the fourth quarter gave the slimmest of hope that maybe this was the scrubs 1% chance of winning. Now, to be fair, the Pistons’ scrubs played against the Cavaliers’ scrubs and that is very different than playing against LeBron James and his unit. The chances were still extremely minimal, but it was better than the 0% chance Detroit’s starters had at winning.
Detroit coach Michael Curry though subbed out his scrubs (mainly Amir Johnson and Walter Herrmann) and put his starters back in the game. At that point, the score was 83-75. Less than two minutes later, the score was 92-77 and the game was over, again.
Johnson and Herrmann played only eight minutes each, but hustled for every loose ball and brought Detroit back. While Johnson was on the court (just those eight minutes), Detroit outscored Cleveland by 13 points and while Herrmann was in, that number was +18. Compare that to the -30 when Richard Hamilton was on the court and it is clear that Curry’s subs were just wrong.
The scrubs brought them back into the game. The starters weren’t going to win the game. Let the bench players try to pull off a miracle. King James would probably have pulled out an easy victory as well, but you never know. It could have been that 1% of the time when the Basketball Gods smile on Herrmann and Johnson.