Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Recap: Heat 78, Pistons 73

Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson will forever be linked in NBA history.
As two players at the same position who were taken two slots apart in the 2015 NBA Draft, they will likely be compared throughout their entire careers in terms of individual and team success.
While their first head-to-head meeting might not have created the buzz of Shaquille O'Neal vs. Alonzo Morning, Dwight Howard vs. Emeka Okafor or LeBron James vs. Carmelo Anthony, it was certainly one of the most highly anticipated matchups in Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League.
The two forwards delivered a quality show, but ultimately it was Winslow's Heat who emerged victorious.
The No. 10 overall pick in this year's draft posted 17 points and four rebounds as Miami edged Detroit for a 78-73 triumph on Monday.
"He's a great player," Johnson said. "He won the game, that's what matters."
For the second straight night Winslow struggled from the field, but remained aggressive and found his way to the free throw line. He again took double-digit attempts from the charity stripe, going 7-for-10 from the line.
It's that ability to find a way to do it all that impresses his rival.
"He's tough, he can dribble, he can shoot, he can rebound, he's athletic," Johnson said. "He wins basketball games."
While their head-to-head matchups are new to the NBA stage, the pair is already very familiar with one another.
"Me and him are friends," Johnson explained. "We've been playing against each other since the third grade, so it's nothing new to us."
The Pistons first round pick, No. 8 overall, put together a solid performance of his own, notching 14 points and seven rebounds. He finished the night 4-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-3 from distance.
"He can do everything," Winslow said of Johnson. "You saw tonight, you saw the threes, you saw the midrange, the floaters. He had a very efficient night unlike me."
It's clear there's more than just a mutual respect among the two rookies.
"We know we're both top talents and so when we're out there between the lines, there's a lot of trash talk, there's a lot of toughness and just competing out there," Winslow said.
But with their first summer league matchup behind them, they plan on spending the night as friends instead of competitors -- well actually that's still up for debate.
"It's all competitive between the lines, but when we go back to the hotel we're going to play FIFA," Wilsow said, before joking "that's going to be competitive (as well)."
Both Detroit (1-2) and Miami (3-0) have Tuesday off before returning to action on Wednesday. The Pistons face the Pacers at 3 p.m. ET, while the Heat take on the Clippers at 5 p.m.

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