Behind Bogdanovic, Pistons finding their way with third road win in last four games

Detroit News

Miami — Bojan Bogdanovic drilled shot after shot to help douse the flames of Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro’s most efficient shooting performance of the season.

It was a flurry of 3-pointers from Detroit’s best shooter, and no one on the Heat could stop Bogdanovic, who tapped in to one of his best scoring binges since joining the Pistons.

He knocked down contested jumpers, step-backs, open looks and fadeaways from 15 feet.

The hot hand was transferred from Herro, who appeared as if he would save the Heat from its third loss in the last four games by scoring 21 of his game-high 34 points in the first half, making his first seven field-goal attempts and all five of his free throws.

However, Bogdanovic stole the cape and scored 28 of his team-high 31 points in the second half to lead Detroit to a commanding seventh win.

When the final buzzer sounded, Bogdanovic’s final stat line was impressive: 31 points (his third time reaching the 30-point mark this season) on 12-of-16 shooting (75%) and 7-of-9 from beyond the arc (77%).

Bogdanovic drained four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but there was no emotion on his face, almost as if he expected his barrage of triples.

“We had a couple of leads before in games that we’ve blown, so I didn’t want to act or do anything until I had a feeling we secured the W,” Bogdanovic said after the game. “It’s a great game against a great team.”

The Heat began the game in their 2-3 zone, which has been effective this season against the most potent offenses. Bogdanovic credited his slow start of missing two of his first three shots in the first half to Miami’s defense.

“I started pretty bad without any kind of energy in the first quarter,” Bogdanovic said. “I tried to be a little bit more aggressive in the third and fourth quarter.”

Detroit veteran Cory Joseph isn’t a stranger to Bogdanovic’s scoring runs after spending two years as his teammate in Indiana. And once he realized Bogdanovic had it going, Joseph made sure to feed the hot hand in the fourth quarter.

Bogdanovic’s fourth triple was in the air as Joseph threw up his hands to signal the shot was good.

“For Bogey, he probably feels like he’s skipping rocks in the ocean,” Joseph said. “I don’t know. The bucket opens up for him and he gets into that zone, it’s tough for anybody to guard him because that shot is lethal. He can put it on the floor as well. He can create space to get it off. All he needs to do is get it past his chest today and it was going in.”

Herro shouldered the load for the Heat, which was without Jimmy Butler due to injury management on his right knee. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year converted on his first eight attempts from the floor, before finishing the game by missing five of his final nine shots.

Bogdanovic said the adjustment to double-team Herro paid off.

“We knew he was going to be aggressive with Butler out,” Bogdanovic said. “We kind of mixed defenses. We double-teamed him right away, and in the pick-and-roll. That kind of slowed him down.”

The Pistons earned their third road victory over the last four games after dropping their first 10 outside of Little Caesars Arena. It’s a luxury for Detroit to have a veteran who can shoot himself out of an offensive funk, especially when his teammates are leaning on his leadership.

“Bogdanovic’s just a pro,” coach Dwane Casey said after the game. “Bogey knows what’s needed. We found some ways to get him open against what they were doing with us offensively, and he took advantage of it and made shots. He got some open looks in the first half, just couldn’t get it going. But he did a great job of finding locations where he can get his shot off and his teammates did a great job of finding him.”

Pistons at Pelicans

Tipoff: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

TV/radio: BSD/97.1

Outlook: The Pistons and Pelicans will meet for the first time this season on Wednesday in the second game of their seventh back-to-back of the season. Both teams met in the preseason and the Pelicans prevailed in a 107-101 victory, powered by 28 points by Jose Alvarado. Saddiq Bey scored 23 for Detroit in that matchup. New Orleans has won 15 of the last 20 meetings dating back to the 2012-13 season.

mcurtis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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