I was talking to an Eastern Conference scout at halftime, one who hadn't seen the Heat play in a while, and he said he thought Dwyane Wade was better under Stan Van Gundy. I agreed and had been thinking this for a while.
The reason is this: For all the experience Pat Riley has, which has helped him get Gary Payton and Antoine Walker more involved in games, he's not really one to let a guard go isolation possession after possession. He's more old school and wants to either go in the post or run some sort of play. But when Stan was coaching, especially in the playoffs last year, he wasn't afraid to just line up Dwyane against his defender and let him go to town. And as you saw in the playoffs, it worked -- A LOT!
Well, look at the second half against the Pistons. Wade lined his guy up over and over, and it worked over and over again.
Maybe now, at least in the big games, Pat will call as many isolation plays as it takes to get a win. The best part about how Sunday's win came was that Shaq also managed a big game. And that should encourage Heat fans who think the team has no shot against the Pistons. I don't know if it's pride or stupidity, but the Pistons continue to play Shaq one-on-one (maybe it's because it worked against the Lakers). And if he can have a big game, and Dwyane can do his usual number against the Pistons, the Heat has just as good a chance against that team as last year.
Look at what happened Sunday. Shaq and Dwyane went off, Gary Payton helped out with 13 points, and no one else did anything, really, offensively. The Pistons nailed 11 three-pointers. The Heat just one. And somehow the Heat still won.
A couple other things to note about Sunday's game: Shandon Anderson was absolutely huge. His defense on Rip Hamilton is what allowed everything else to happen. There's no way the Heat holds the Pistons to 14 points in the fourth without him. Look for him to be a regular in the rotation, especially if Posey continues to play uneven basketball.
And I know Jason Williams didn't play much and had trouble with Chauncey Billups, but look for him to finally break out again and start playing like he had been before the finger injury. The stitches are gone, so he'll start playing aggressively again.