The Detroit Pistons ended their franchise record-tying 14-game losing streak at the Miami’s expense. The Heat get a chance to avenge that loss just a few nights later.
Detroit defeated the depleted Heat 100-90 on Sunday and the two teams will square off again Thursday in Miami.
Both teams played on Tuesday and reverted to form. The Pistons lost for the 15th time in 16 games, 105-91, to the New York Knicks. The Heat, who have won five of their last seven outings, bounced back from the loss by blitzing the Indiana Pacers, 125-96. They tied a franchise record with 22 made 3-pointers despite having six players out, including three starters.
“It’s coming from within the context of our identity and how we want to play,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We still have an aggressive attack. Guys are putting a lot of pressure on the paint. Our spacing certainly helps. But our paint touches are key for us. We might not get to the line as much as we previously would with Jimmy (Butler) and Bam (Adebayo) playing. But we still can put a lot of pressure on the paint and that leads to open threes and guys have really worked on that.”
Tyler Herro scored 26 points in his return from a quad injury that sidelined him for three games.
“Obviously, no one likes missing games. But there’s a gift and a curse with it,” Herro said. “Obviously, being able to get a couple days rest. I’ve been playing high minutes before the injury. So just being able to get a couple days is always good.”
Max Strus was inserted into the starting lineup after P.J. Tucker suffered a knee injury in Detroit. He contributed 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
“It just made the most sense for this game and who we had available,” Spoelstra said. “P.J., you take out that kind of Swiss Army knife, who’s doing everything for us defensively and offensively he has really created a lot of good triggers for us. We can’t try to recreate that, so we just went a different way.”
The Pistons were missing their head coach in New York. For the second time in three games, Dwane Casey wasn’t on the sidelines as he attended to a personal matter.
As usual, Detroit struggled to score and was particularly ineffective beyond the arc, shooting 24.2 percent (8 for 33).
“At the end of the night, our percentage is 36 from the field, 24 from 3-point range,” acting coach Rex Kalamian said. “It’s going to be hard to win against a good basketball team on the road with those types of percentages.”
With Killian Hayes out with a non-COVID-19 illness, second-year guard Saben Lee got a greater opportunity to play. He was the bright spot, supplying 16 points in 25 minutes off the bench.
“I just try to come in and push the pace on defense and on offense, get the ball before they get downhill and find my teammates,” he said. “Hopefully, it contributes to successful plays.”
The Pistons will get two days off after Thursday’s game and return the night after Christmas with a road test in San Antonio. Miami continues a four-game homestand against Orlando the same day.
–Field Level Media