The Miami Heat came out of the gates at the Palace with a thud, missing five of their first six shots from the field, trailing early and never truly threatening the Detroit Pistons en route to a 107-84 defeat for their second consecutive loss on their road trip.
Miami managed just four total points in the game after five minutes of play. A Dion Waiters 3-pointer represented just the second field goal by the halfway mark of the opening quarter.
Andre Drummond thoroughly outplayed Hassan Whiteside, who appeared lifeless right from the start much like the rest of the team and was way too timid on the defensive end — almost as if he was afraid of being too aggressive so as not to get into early foul trouble. Whiteside had a season-low six points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes.
It didn’t get much better elsewhere with Tyler Johnson pretty much the lone bright spot for the team as he broke out of a mini-slump with 10 points in his first eight minutes and a team-high 17 points for the night and another broken tooth for his efforts (why the NBA player with the most to gain for wearing a mouthguard isn’t wearing one remains a mystery). Rodney McGruder also had a nice game off the bench and Josh McRoberts provided the Heat with its only two highlights of the game, a creative behind the back pass for an easy layup and a stunning long distance bounce pass that perfectly cut through the Pistons defense for a Tyler Johnson basket.
Unfortunately that was pretty much it when looking for any positive tonight. Miami’s starters were looked lost for the entire game and none of them got it going, particularly in the first quarter, where they shot 4-16 FGs and committed seven turnovers and trailed by as much as 15 as a result.
An unconventional lineup of reserves Johnson, McGruder, Luke Babbitt, James Johnson, and McRoberts managed to limit Detroit’s offense and go on a 10-0 run to help cut the deficit down to three points but that’s as close as they got for the night. The Pistons would soon come back to lead by 16 close to halftime with Goran Dragic, Whiteside and Waiters back in the game. The home team close the first half with a 20-10 to end any hopes of a nice comeback win for the Heat.
Detroit’s 20-6 run in the third quarter essentially sealed the comfortable victory and the Heat starters were soon spectactors in the fourth quarter with the loss a certainty. Not helping matters was a splendid game off the bench from former Heat point guard Beno Udrih, who outplayed his fellow countryman Dragic and expertly guided Detroit’s offense on a night that Miami looked so disjointed.
Miami only shot well from the free throw line, shooting under 35 percent from the field for the game, and Detroit had free reign in the paint with Whiteside not providing any rim protection, scoring a season-high 58 points in the paint were the most for a Heat opponent.
The Heat’s record falls to 4-10 and 2-5 on the road and next face the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.