Detroit Pistons collapse late, lose 10th straight, 118-105, to Miami Heat at LCA

Detroit Free Press

For 43 minutes, the Detroit Pistons were resilient. They closed two double digit deficits — a 17-point gap in the second quarter, and a 12-point spread in the third. They moved the ball and hit timely 3-pointers.

But they couldn’t close out the win. The Miami Heat, in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race and in need of a win, finished with a 20-6 run to defeat the Pistons, 118-105, on Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena. The Pistons —in need of a win for different reasons — and have now lost 10 straight, and 21 of their last 22, with three games remaining in the season.

It was a good night for Detroit’s rookies, as Jaden Ivey finished with 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds on 11-for-15 shooting and 4-for-6 shooting from 3. Jalen Duren had a double-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds and a block. Isaiah Livers (15 points), James Wiseman (14 points) and Eugene Omoruyi (11 points) also reached double-figures scoring.

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Duren started in place of Marvin Bagley III, who missed the game due to being in concussion protocol. Detroit had just nine healthy players available on their main roster.

Detroit (16-63) has a few more opportunities to pick up a win and avoid tying the franchise record for fewest losses in a season. The Pistons shot 49.3% overall and hit 11 of 28 3-pointers, and kept pace with a healthy Heat team until falling apart with five minutes remaining. They led, 99-98, with 5:15 to play before Jimmy Butler gave the Heat the lead for good with a floater at the 4:36 mark.

Jimmy Butler led Miami with 27 points, and scored 18 in the final quarter to help the Heat close out the win. Gabe Vincent (22 points, 6-for-11 from 3), Tyler Herro (18 points) and Bam Adebayo (18) were effective as well.

The Pistons shook off a rough start, finishing with 21 assists and 14 turnovers after tallying two assists and five turnovers in the opening quarter. They tightened up in the second half, committing just two turnovers in the third quarter and two more in the fourth. But those final two were costly.

Both of them occurred in the final three minutes in the game, and Duren was responsible. The first was a misplaced entry pass to Wiseman that led to Jimmy Butler making three free throws on the other end. Wiseman fouled Butler on a layup attempt, and then was called for a technical foul.

On the second turnover, Duren was ripped by Herro. Butler knocked down a midrange jumper on the other end to extend Miami’s lead to 114-104 with 1:23 remaining.

Livers shakes off injury, powers Pistons runs

The injury-battered Pistons appeared to be down another key player. After attempting a 3-pointer, Livers’ right foot landed on Ivey’s foot as he was fouled by Vincent. Livers’ ankle bent, and his expression indicated that he was hurting.

Livers yelped as he tried to walk the pain off. He briefly re-entered the game to take — and make — a trio of free throws. Then, R.J. Hampton committed an intentional foul so the coaching staff could get Livers out of the game.

Livers didn’t return to the bench that quarter, but when he did return midway through the second quarter, he looked a little hobbled. He occasionally grimaced while jogging down the floor. But he persevered, and helped the Pistons turn things around after a cold start.

Livers hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the first half to extend a 17-6 Pistons run, enabling them to cut a 17-point deficit to seven entering halftime. And his fourth 3-pointer midway through the third period ended a 13-0 Heat run that put the Pistons down 12 points, and sparked a 23-8 run through the beginning of the fourth quarter that gave Detroit an 83-80 lead with 10:16 remaining in the game.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.

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