Bam, Heat hold off Pistons in matchup of undermanned

At least through three quarters, the Miami Heat did what you should do to weary, groggy teams.

And the Detroit Pistons, in the state they arrived Tuesday, were that. Without Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, their star and resurgent sixth man. Groggy after a flight that arrived at 5:30am.

While the 117-108 victory, which was supremely sloppy down the stretch, may not seem like much, this was the type of game the Heat has found a way to lose the past couple of seasons, especially when they were shorthanded themselves. On this night, however, without Tyler Herro, Derrick Jones Jr. and James Johnson — and playing three G-League players regularly — they dominated Detroit at the start and that was enough to survive. While the Pistons pulled closer late, even with Andre Drummond fouling out, it never felt as if the Heat lost control, especially as Jimmy Butler (20 points) finally started looking to score.

The pacesetters? The veterans. Goran Dragic entered the NBA in the top 5 in bench scoring, and continued his comfortable rhythm with his eighth double-digit performance (18 points) in 10 outings. Butler, as he’s done all but three times this season, worked his way into the game offensively, setting tempo and finding shooters, with 13 of Miami’s 34 assists. And Miami’s young vet, Bam Adebayo, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds, flashed his shooting touch with a 17-foot jumper and a nifty hook, before fouling out.

That, plus at least three three-pointers apiece from Duncan Robinson and the recently-struggling Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk, was sufficient. All 10 Heat players scored, including two-way guard Daryl Macon (flown in as a reinforcement) and Mr. 305 Udonis Haslem, who got the loudest ovation when he entered, chewing on his mouthpiece.

Cleveland is next, part of a stretch that should see the Heat soar to 11-3, provided they close better than they did Tuesday night.

(Cover photo by Alejandro Villegas)

Tweets of the night:


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