| The Detroit News
The Pistons’ matchup with the Miami Heat was pushed back a few hours to Monday night after some issues with COVID protocols during the morning tests.
Picking up where they left off in Saturday’s win over the Heat, when the Pistons got their first road win of the season, didn’t quite go according to plan. The Pistons had a hot start in the first quarter, hitting 65% of their shots, but couldn’t hold on.
The Heat, behind Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, regrouped and pushed ahead for a 113-107 victory on Monday at American Airlines Arena. The win ended the Heat’s three-game losing streak and was the third loss in the last four games for the Pistons, who finish their three-game road trip at Atlanta on Wednesday.
Jerami Grant had 27 points, four rebounds and six assists, Wayne Ellington 24 points — including seven 3-pointers — and Derrick Rose 21 points for the Pistons (3-10).
The Heat (5-7) took advantage of the Pistons’ sloppy play to help their comeback, employing a zone defense that the Pistons couldn’t crack and getting out in transition for easy shots.
“Eighteen turnovers for 23 points — that’s a lot of turnovers,” coach Dwayne Casey said. “The theme of night was usually our second unit comes in really does a great job but for whatever reason tonight, they came in and we had a 19-point lead and didn’t come in with the same defensive disposition, the same defensive energy as the first group had.”
The Pistons had everything going for them in the first quarter, when they shot 65% from the field and got off to a blazing start behind back-to-back 3-pointers by Wayne Ellington for a 28-9 lead at the 4:58 mark.
The Heat rallied when the Pistons’ reserves entered the game, with a 9-0 run, including a basket by Dragic (22 points) and finishing with a lay-up by Precious Achiuwa. Rose ended the run with two consecutive baskets and Adebayo finished the quarter with the dunk to trim the Pistons’ lead to 36-24.
Duncan Robinson (18 points opened the second quarter with a pair of 3-pointers and the Heat comeback was on. The Pistons got a scoring spurt from Josh Jackson, who had nine points in a span of less than three minutes.
The Heat answered with a 17-3 run to take the lead, 53-51.
“They tightened up their defense and we could have expected that. They came out and we hit them pretty hard,” Ellington said. “We knew they were going to come out with a better effort in the second half.”
After taking a 61-55 lead to halftime, the Pistons got a boost from Grant in the third quarter, as he scored six of their first nine points. The Heat had another run, with nine straight points, including a lay-in and a 3-pointer from Kelly Olynyk and finishing with a jumper by Adebayo.
In the fourth quarter, the Pistons got within 106-103 with 1:43 left after Ellington’s seventh 3-pointer, but Adebayo hit two free throws and Dragic hit a bank-shot jumper with 45.7 seconds left to retain a five-point lead.