The Miami Heat had to approach the next two games with a sense of desperation. What would happen if they lost? well then be in serious jeopardy. So what happened? Let's just say the playoffs are in serious jeopardy.
After the first basket came from an ailing Udonis Haslem, The Detroit Pistons then went 7 for 7 including three pointers, opening up with an 15-11 lead. That lead went up to 20-11 midway through the first. Things got only worse after that, with Hassan Whiteside picking up his second foul before the first quarter ended. Miami then went on a run led by Luol Deng and Mario Chalmers, and ended the first trailing 29-24
#HEATgame: End of the 1stQ - HEAT 24, Pistons 29. Deng 8pts, Chalmers 5pts.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 5, 2015
Miami opened up the second quarter on a 10-2 run, shooting 68% and led 34-31. You could tell Dwyane Wade was picking his spots to attack (probably because Paul George and the Indiana Pacers are waiting tomorrow) but then Wade decided to be Wade again with this beautiful fade away
GIF: D. Wade hits a 2nd quarter fadeaway! pic.twitter.com/0gGh876lwB— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 5, 2015
This was then followed by two back to back blocks from Hassan Whiteside, which led to an easy basket by Goran Dragic. Plays like that are why Goran's eyes light up when you ask him about the potential of Whiteside for this team. Even with an injured hand the Pistons couldn't get past him.
Even though it was the Pistons, Miami had one of its finer quarters of 2015, outscoring the Pistons 31-9 over a nine minute span (credit to Jason Lieser for that) and took a 55-50 lead at the half.
A Heat player was lost for the night before the second half even started! That's how this season has gone for Miami so no one was surprised right? The latest victim, Chris Andersen was ruled out for the second half due to a left foot contusion.
Chris Andersen out for the balance of the game with a bruised left foot. That could be an issue against the big-ish Pacers.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) April 5, 2015
Andre Drummond then got the memo that Whiteside's weakness is his temper and immediately tested it, hard fouling him to the ground two plays in a row. Hassan proved yet again to play smart basketball, drawing Drummond's fourth foul, forcing him to the bench. Whiteside blocks continue to be a marvelous sight to watch right?
That was Whiteside's sixth block, complemented already with a double double of 10 and 10. The triple double watch was on at that moment! Wade then exploded for a baseline dunk as Miami went on 16-5 run to close the third quarter and led 81-72 behind the one legged Dwayne Wade (24 points) and the one handed Whiteside. If James Ennis starts a run of his own, can we call it the W.W.E?
Right on cue.
That shot had Miami up 89-77, and Ennis started to become the high energy player off the bench the way Michael Beasley. Now all Ennis needs to do this off season is play better defense and this team next year will have Luol Deng and a younger Luol Deng replacing Luol Deng. After another Ennis dunk Miami had it's biggest lead of the night 93-78.
After this point was when everything went downhill
The Heat had costly turnovers and up only 10 with four minutes left. At this point is when I started to experience Milwaukee Bucks flashbacks. The Pistons then hit a three and trailed by only six. Oh dear God..
— Will Manso (@WillManso) April 5, 2015
The Pistons then cut it down to one (98-97) with a minute and change left. Detroit then took a 99-98 lead, and just like that, after being up 93-78, end up losing then took the lead 99-98, and went on win the game. How did it happen? Detroit ended the game on a 21-5 run.
Heat lose 99-98. Playoffs now in serious doubt.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 5, 2015
FINAL: Pistons 99, Heat 98. Huge collapse late for the Heat and a potentially devastating loss in this Eastern Conference playoff race.— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) April 5, 2015
First losing season for the Heat since 2007-08, third in past 13 seasons. Pacers can pull even (& ahead w/ tiebreak) tomorrow night.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 5, 2015