Pistons overwhelm Heat for first road win: 'Played the right way'
During a difficult start to the season, even small victories within a game are good signs to hang on to.
In what was likely their most complete game of the season, the Pistons showed plenty of flashes, taking an impressive 120-100 victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday night at American Airlines Arena.
Jerami Grant finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four blocks, extending his streak of games with 20-plus points to 11. Derrick Rose had 23 points and four assists off the bench and Blake Griffin 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the Pistons (3-9), who got their first road win of the season.
“He's being aggressive and getting to his spots — and if anything, if anything, we can get him the ball more and make sure he's a force on that end,” Rose said. “Defensively, he's been there too, where he's extremely long and you think you're going to get the shot off, but he's right there contesting it, if not blocking it. I love how he's produced.”
The Heat (4-7) were shorthanded, with Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley out (COVID health and safety protocols) and Tyler Herro (neck spasms) missing the game. They were uncertain to have the minimum of eight players healthy because six others were cleared from the COVID protocols earlier in the afternoon.
The Pistons had a 38-19 scoring margin in the third quarter that proved to be the difference in the game, as they started with eight straight points from Grant, a lay-in from Griffin and a free throw from Mason Plumlee. After a 3-pointer from K.Z. Okpala stopped the run, Griffin hit a 3-pointer and Plumlee added an alley-oop for a 68-61 lead.
The lead ballooned to 87-70 after a 12-0 run, with Grant’s 3-pointer, a three-point play by Rose, another 3-pointer from Griffin and a 3-pointer by Rose.
“I like that everybody stepped in and did their job and played the right way,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I was really happy to see Derrick step in and really give us what he does best. He gave us a shot in the arm offensively when he came in the game.”
Miami closed the quarter with five points, but the Pistons started the fourth quarter with 3-pointers by Saddiq Bey and Griffin and after Duncan Robinson (22 points) followed with a 3-pointer, Josh Jackson pushed the Pistons lead to 21 with 9:05 remaining.
Bam Adebayo (28 points, seven rebounds and six assists) scored six consecutive points midway through the fourth quarter, and two more free throws from Robinson got the Heat within 104-89 with 5:37 left, but the Pistons put it away with a drive by Grant, plus a 3-pointer by Wayne Ellington and a basket by Wright.
The Pistons took the lead in the first quarter with an 8-0 run, following 3-pointers by Delon Wright and Griffin and a transition basket by Grant.