Another day, another inferior opponent taking an early lead against the defending champion Miami Heat.
Another win. A 25th in a row.
The Heat dropped the Pistons 103-89 behind 29 points from LeBron James on 12-of-15 shooting. The shooting performance ties the best of his career, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Detroit took a 39-28 lead with 8:22 left in the second quarter on a Jose Calderon 3-pointer, but the Heat chipped away and kept it close before outscoring the Pistons 30-21 in the fourth quarter and finishing the deal.
Dwyane Wade added 19 points in an uneven performance. The star guard had four rebounds, three assists and three steals on a night the Heat has a season high in steals, but also had six turnovers and shot 7-of-17 from the floor. To his credit, he left the game briefly with a wrist issue and returned in time to help the team clinch the win.
Greg Monroe was just a monster, again. He had 31 points the last time he played Miami's frontline, and worked the Heat for 23 points and 15 boards tonight. The man has a very complete offensive game and literally manhandled the Heat at times.
Miami might have to concede the rebounding deficit (47-33 tonight), but as long as they are active in forcing turnovers (22) and playing efficient offense (56 percent), a win should never really be in question. The Heat have a few factors that they aim to win every night to win, and you can bet these are very high on that list.
Norris Cole (10), Mario Chalmers (11) and Shane Battier (11) also scored in double digits for the Heat.
The Pistons shot just 41 percent as a team.
* Norris Cole dunked tonight. That's newsworthy in itself.
* Seriously, Cole had one of his better games this season. He shot 4-of-5, and was an absolute pest defensively. The second year guard had four steals and made some sly decisions on the break, contributing with four assists as well.
* Chris Bosh really sucked tonight. But the Heat have such an embarrassingly good team that this can go relatively unnoticed in an easy win. But Bosh got outplayed by Monroe. By a wide margin. Bosh had just five points and never got in a rhythm, missing six of seven shots.
* Calderon was quieted in the second half, but was creating offense for Detroit in the first half with nifty pick-and-roll passes and stellar shooting. A free agent to be, Calderon could really help a good team next season.
* Miami's slow starts to games shouldn't be alarming. It's human instinct to come into games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons and not be engaged as a team right away. It goes back a little further than that though. This might be a bad, but understandable habit. When Miami engages on defense as a team, it jump starts them and they ultimately go on runs. They're relying on that.
* Miami's defense, by the way, haunted the Pistons in the second half. You know that point in the game when Miami gets so committed to its aggressive helpside defense that it looks like it's playing zone? The Heat, outside of calculated gambles, seem to really understand defensive rotations and where to be two and three passes away when their man doesn't have the ball. For a team as aggressive as they are, it's pretty brilliant that it can all be under control to this degree.