It looked like one of those games where it would be won in the first quarter, with the Miami Heat playing some of their best basketball of the season to open up a substantial lead against the Detroit Pistons.
The home team were led early by a dominant Hassan Whiteside on both ends of the floor, excellent passing and spacing out on the floor, and Beno Udrih's best performance in a Heat jersey (14 points, six assists) starting in place of Goran Dragic, who missed his first game for the Heat with a sore hand. The rest of the starters were in sync with Udrih, and he was a more than capable threat offensively within the flow of the game.
Dwyane Wade and Udrih made sure Whiteside was actively involved on offense and he got the better of Andre Drummond early on as the team collectively controlled the boards and the game. The Heat's lead would swell to 18 points early in the second quarter, but it was suddenly undone with an incredible display of outside shooting by the Pistons. Stanley Johnson, Steve Blake, and Anthony Tolliver led the charge off the bench with multiple 3-pointers but the Heat's bench were unable to respond. Detroit would take their first lead of the game with less than a second left in the first half after a Reggie Jackson basket.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, with several players providing highlight-worthy plays including a vicious dunk by a high-flying Justise Winslow. Unfortunately that was his only score of the game, with Gerald Green contributing eight points and Josh Richardson adding two points to complete the team's entire scoring output from the bench. Meanwhile, the Pistons' depth kept them in good position to win it with the scoring load spread throughout.
Whiteside again was strong in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Chris Bosh led the team with 20 points but took 21 shots to get to that total. Dwayne Wade looked solid at times and scored 19 points but also took 21 shots. Both Bosh and Wade had golden opportunities to win it for the Heat at the end of the game despite good looks at the basket. Wade's shot rattled off the rim and a pair of missed free throws by Andre Drummond gave the home team one last chance to steal the game but Bosh's shot attempt was off and wouldn't have counted regardless as time expired.
Without Dragic or Tyler Johnson to help ignite the offense, Miami's slow pace wasn't effective enough down the stretch and their perimeter defense has to be held accountable for Detroit's 15-29 shooting from beyond the arc, though they admittedly converted some difficult shots under duress. The Heat lost despite only committing five turnovers for the game in contrast to 16 by the Pistons.
Miami falls to 16-11 for the season with their second loss in three games, all at home.