Eleven games into the 2020-21 season, the Miami Heat don’t look good. At all.
That’s the conclusion after the Detroit Pistons — a team that came into Saturday night’s game with a league-worst 2-9 record — dominated the second half against Miami to come away with their first road win of the season, 120-100. After an uneven first half saw the Heat take a 56-52 lead into halftime, Detroit shellacked Miami 38-19 in the third quarter and never looked back.
And this time, the Heat didn’t have the excuse of only having eight available players. Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic returned for Miami, though Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley remained out due to health and safety protocols. Additionally, Tyler Herro missed the game with neck spasms. Still, the returns of Adebayo and Dragic should have been enough to push Miami to a victory over Detroit. But they didn’t.
The Heat again started the game with senseless turnovers that piled up. Miami even fell behind by 10 points early in the second quarter before Duncan Robinson and Adebayo helped Miami get back into the game. Adebayo even hit a nice jumper at the buzzer of the half and got fouled.
THE BUZZER WAITED FOR BAM pic.twitter.com/lLOGoPZqdw— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 17, 2021
But after that, it was all downhill for Miami. Neither Kelly Olynyk nor Gabe Vincent could hit a 3-point shot — they combined to go 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. Vincent, in fact, fouled out of the game in just 15 minutes of action. But the Pistons also came into the second half with a harder edge than Miami, exemplified when backup big man Isaiah Stewart out-willed Adebayo for two offensive rebounds and a put-back.
Derrick Rose shot 8-of-12 from the field, and Jerami Grant shot 10-for-19. It got so bad that Erik Spoelstra went to a zone at the end of the third quarter, in a move that was all but an admission of defeat.
In terms of positives, KZ Okpala got his first start of the season and made four corner 3-pointers. Saturday night undoubtedly represented Okpala’s best game since his outburst in the second preseason game against the Toronto Raptors. Another note — Moe Harkless didn’t even get off the bench, even in the final minutes of the game. He appears firmly out of the rotation.
4 of 4 from deeeeep#KZSZN pic.twitter.com/hS6Ur1EwZg— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 17, 2021
Adebayo finished with 28 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the foul line. He added seven rebounds and six assists. Robinson made five of his eight 3-point attempts to finish with 22 points, but he also made this nice cut for a dunk in the second quarter.
Duncan continuing to add more to his game. pic.twitter.com/csqh5XZGEZ— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) January 17, 2021
Although it was easy to write off those two losses to Philadelphia to contact-tracing decimating the team, we can’t ignore these bad signs from early in the season. The historic, 47-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Giving up 124 points to a Washington Wizards team without Bradley Beal. Getting Jimmy Butler back will help (who knows when that will be), but the Heat don’t look like anything close to a good team right now.