I have a lot of sympathy for the poor Pistons fans that came out to the Palace at Auburn Hills in 10 degree weather and got treated to their team getting dominated pretty much from start to finish. Despite a bevy of bumps and bruises along the way, Miami never took their foot off the gas and steamrolled the Pistons right out of their own building. Oh, and they did it without Michael Beasley. They looked like a totally different team against stinky Detroit then they did against the Raptors. Big shock...
The game had an ominous beginning as less then a minute in, Jermaine O'Neal injured himself going for a rebound. He was helped off the floor by teammates, and suddenly the Heat had two reserves playing starters minutes in the frontcourt. Still, they kept pace with the Pistons for most of the opening quarter, scoring 26 and taking a 3-point lead into the 2nd.
The Heat maintained their lead even with the reserves in, which included Daequan Cook who missed the last 4 games with an injured ankle. Contributions from Dorell Wright, Udonis and the return of J-O allowed Miami to expand their lead to double digits with D-Wade on the bench for an extended period, and the Heat took an 11-point lead into the break.
After sitting out most of a Heat-dominant 2nd quarter in which the Pistons scored only 13 points, D-Wade played very well in the 3rd. Dwyane was dealing with back spasms most of the night but was still very productive in limited minutes. His 11 points in the quarter were mostly from the 3 triples he sunk, but the story of the night was becoming the Heat's team D. Just 12 points scored by Detroit in the 3rd had Miami taking a big 23-point lead into the final period.
With the Heat taking that big of a lead into the 4th, we all know what kind of lineup to expect in that quarter. Still, our ‘end of the bench' guys played very well, not allowing the Pistons to creep back into the game. Overall, it was a night of great team defense, holding Detroit to 65 points on just 39% shooting.
How about my garbage time all-stars? Daequan Cook hit both of his triples and finished with 8 points, and James Jones drilled his only shot attempt of the game, a trey. Any kind of production from these guys is welcomed, but a combined 3-for-3 from beyond the arc is awesome! And for Cook, after being out of the lineup for the better part of 2 weeks, it was a great way to get back in.
- Jermaine O'Neal came back from hyperextending his left knee in the first minute of the game to finish with 10 and 11, his 9th double double of the year. To put that into perspective, he had just 8 all last season.
- Miami recovered from their terrible 3-point shooting game in Toronto quite nicely. As a team, the Heat hit 10 of their 15 triples. That's 67%. That is super.
- The Heat team D was superb. They held the Pistons to just 25 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Detroit also scored just 7 more points in the 2nd half then they did in the 1st quarter.
- Despite playing just 24 minutes, D-Wade still led Miami in scoring with 22 points and added 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Dealing with back spasms most of the night didn't stop Dwyane from hitting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
- Mario Chalmers injured his left thumb while playing (what he calls) defense. X-rays came back negative but Rio didn't return to the game. This could mean that we see more of Carlos Arroyo tomorrow in Milwaukee.
- Rebounds: Miami 52, Detroit 25. ‘Nuff said.
A quick trip from Detroit to Milwaukee for the Heat as their short, 3-game road trip comes to a close. Miami has a very good chance to returning home with a 2-1 record on the trip, and then their next home game is also against Milwaukee. Should the Heat take care of business against a much worse Bucks team, they could enjoy a nice 3-1 stretch despite playing 3 of those 4 games away from home.