The Heat struggled defensively in the first quarter with Blake Griffin bullying the Heat defence. Miami was even forced to just foul him at times, just to create a possibility of a missed free throw.
The Heat struggled to score this quarter. Miami’s offensive sets just seemed to have no rhythm. With J-Rich out, there just wasn’t anybody to set the pace and it was visible early. This Heat team seems to feed off the energy of its peers, when somebody isn’t scoring nobody is scoring.
Detroit largely controlled this quarter, despite some fight from Derrick Jones Jr. and Dwyane Wade. Detroit would take a 13 point lead into the second.
Wade opened things up for the Heat with a great bank shot. But Detroit didn’t let up. Unsurprisingly, Miami once again struggled with turnovers (they had 10 at the half) which led to many Detroit buckets.
The Heat couldn’t hit the side of a barn this half, going 5-15 from three point. It’s crazy to me that this team can be embarrassed so badly on Tuesday and the only person who shows up to work hard in the next game is 37 year old Dwyane Wade (he had some great plays in the half). There’s talent on this Heat team, but the competitive fire is lacking, something Miami has never had a problem with.
Nobody helped on defense at all forcing Spoelstra to make changes. Wayne Ellington found himself on the floor for the first time since his garbage time outing last game. He was effective, bouncing off screens, aggressively cutting and finding open men.
The Heat did creep back a bit off of some strong play from Winslow, Whiteside and Wade, but they got buried once again as Griffin unleashed from beyond the arc.
It also didn’t help that the Heat were 4 of 15 from the foul line. In my experience, that’s usually not a winning recipe.
Miami would head into the third quarter down 14.
The Heat actually showed a little bit of offense to start this quarter, with TJ and Whiteside scoring right away. The Heat finally managed to get in rhythm and go on an 11-3 scoring run to get within 7.
Zaza Pachulia was up to his usual antics this game, hurting Hassan on a dirty play. Zaza can’t keep getting away with this type of thing, it’s risky and frankly unprofessional. Hassan was thankfully okay, but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that he couldn’t hit his free throws. (Literally none of the free throws, he missed every free throw he took, c’mon man.)
Miami’s defense finally came alive to slow down Detroit and get them within striking distance. Two scores by Wade would get the Heat within one and a Tyler Johnson three allowed Miami to steal the lead. All of a sudden the Heat just exploded with great offense and defense. It was seriously unbelievable.
The Heat are the basketball version of Batman’s two face. I can’t believe it sometimes. Heat would take a 4 point lead into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was frantic, as both teams worked hard for the lead. This led to some great plays (example below)
It was Stanley Johnson and Dwyane Wade who would go back and forth to create a series of lead changes.
Just when it seemed like Olynyk and TJ had shifted momentum in Miami’s favour, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard hit some big buckets to take the lead once again. Detroit would go on an 8-0 scoring run to go up five, but the Heat stayed in it keeping things close all the way through.
Rodney McGruder hit a huge three as the shot clock expired to bring the Heat within one. Unfortunately Blake Griffin would make his free throws to make it a three point lead, but seconds later a great Wade layup would cut the lead down to one once again.
Zaza Pachulia scored his first basket of the game at the worst possible time, leaving Miami down three with 26.2 seconds left. The Heat elected to go for two as Wade drove for a layup cutting the lead again to one.
Miami fouled Reggie Jackson who hit both of his free throws leaving Miami down three with 11 seconds left. Miami went to Wade for three on a fairly botched final possession, but he was unable to convert.
They’d come up just short of a full comeback and fall below .500 once again.