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With losing streak vanquished, Heat to face Pistons again

Mar 15, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives to the basket as Detroit Pistons forward Simone Fontecchio (19) defends during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat turned up their defensive intensity Friday in a much-needed victory and will seek back-to-back road wins over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon.

The Heat used a 15-0 run in the third quarter to take control of Friday’s matchup and emerged with a 108-95 win. They snapped a four-game losing streak in the process.

“I thought there was a professionalism to the approach (Friday),” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Now we have to gear up and rest up, heal up and get ready for the matinee game.”

The Pistons committed 18 turnovers, which the Heat turned into 33 points. That’s the second-most points the Heat have scored off turnovers in a game this season.

Bam Adebayo had 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to lead the way. Caleb Martin supplied 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Miami (36-30), while Terry Rozier also scored 18 points.

Duncan Robinson had nine points and two steals during the decisive run and finished with 16 points and five assists.

“Even though it was back and forth for most of the first half, the activity level was set from the beginning,” Spoelstra said. “Terry was terrific with his activity, Caleb was outstanding, Bam was really good defensively and then everybody just joined the party from there. The deflections, steals, disruption, the activity plays, that looked a lot more like us.”

The Heat can complete a sweep of the four-game season series against the Pistons.

“We were clicking (Friday),” Adebayo said. “Shots were falling, we were making plays on the defensive end. It’s one game. We have to play them again Sunday. So I feel like they’ll be more prepared then.”

Both of the teams’ usual top scorers had subpar outings. Miami’s Jimmy Butler had 14 points, seven below his average, while Detroit’s Cade Cunningham was limited to 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting.

Simone Fontecchio led the Pistons (12-54) with 24 points. Jalen Duren had 15 points and 17 rebounds and Jaden Ivey tossed in 14 points with nine assists.

However, the giveaways were too much to overcome. That prevented Detroit from notching its first three-game winning streak of the season. The Pistons, who are wrapping up a six-game homestand, earned victories over Charlotte and Toronto prior to Friday’s contest.

“That’s a huge part of (the game), just because giving up that many points is demoralizing,” Pistons coach Monty Williams said. “We had some really tough offensive possessions where we weren’t organized. That was responsible for some of the turnovers.”

Said Fontecchio: “When you give up 33 points off turnovers and you’re not making a lot of shots, it becomes very difficult.”

Detroit will be playing the front end of games on consecutive days. The Pistons will head to Boston to face the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics on Monday night.

The Heat are also playing on Monday, with a visit to Philadelphia to face the 76ers.

–Field Level Media

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