Detroit Pistons: Observations on Heat rematch

Jan 18, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) controls the ball between Detroit Pistons guard Wayne Ellington (8) and guard Derrick Rose (25) . Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 18, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) controls the ball between Detroit Pistons guard Wayne Ellington (8) and guard Derrick Rose (25) . Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons came out ready to blow out the Miami Heat for a second time. However, the Heat rallied to pull out a 113-107 win.

The usual script is that the Detroit Pistons starters struggle followed by the bench doing well, and leading a rally. The script was flipped on Monday night,

The Pistons starters beat the living daylights out of the Heat, staking Detroit to a 19-point lead. But the subs could not stop a Miami rally, as the momentum swung to the Heat. Detroit never really controlled things after that.

One thing followed the script, the Pistons could not come up with the big plays at the end. With a minute to go, Miami held just a three-point lead but were able to win, 113-107.

Here are the Good, the Bad and Ugly observations on the game:

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Pistons start: Ever since Killian Hayes left the lineup with a hip injury, Detroit has gotten off to poor starts in games. Not this time! Detroit came out red hot and held a 30-11 lead on the defending Eastern Conference champions.

Everyone contributed, with Mason Plumlee showing offensive chops no one saw in Denver. Wayne Ellington hit three three-pointers in the first quarter.

Unfortunately, the bench then got rolled, but it was nice to see the starting 5 play well.

Wayne Ellington: After not playing in five of the first six games, Ellington has looked quite comfortable as the Pistons starting shooting guard. Opponents have to respect his outside shooting, and that opens things up for Jerami Grant to operate.

Going against his former team, Ellington scored 24 points, going an amazing 7-for-11 on three-point shots. A wily veteran like the 33-year-old Ellington might just be what the Pistons needed.

Detroit Pistons: The Bad

Pistons turnovers: After the game, coach Dwane Casey pointed to Detroit’s 16 turnovers as the key to the loss. It was not a lot, but they came in really bad moments.

Every starter had two turnovers except point guard Delon Wright, who had none. But point guard Derrick Rose committed three turnovers to give every position part of the blame.

Detroit simply can not afford to waste possessions with turnovers. It’s mediocre offense can not make up the difference.

Pistons defense: Miami was without its top two offensive weapons in Jimmy Butler (health protocol) and Tyler Herro (neck spasms). Yet the Heat were able to shoot a sizzling 57% from the floor.

Duncan Robinson hit six three-pointers and center Bam Adebayo scored 13 fourth quarter points. With Miami having so few weapons, the Pistons needed to shut both of them down.

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Game time changings: The game was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. but was played at 8.

Weekday afternoon games on Martin Luther King Day are popular around the NBA. School is out, and it gives the kids a chance to watch an NBA game that does not last past their bedtime. When fans are allowed, many teams give free tickets out to school children to come watch.

However, someone forget to tell the test labs when the game was supposed to start. About 1:30 pm, it was officially announced it was being moved back to 8 p.m.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said it had to do with all the testing needing time to process, as the afternoon start ‘threw them a curveball’.

Yes, there were virtually no fans to inconvenience, but there were many  people who cleared their schedule in the afternoon so they could see the game. Really unprofessional.

Blake Griffin: If you watched the game on NBA League Pass, you got the Miami Heat feed. It was interesting to have people, who do not see the team every day, what their observations were.

Both announcers were puzzled why 6-9, 250-pound Blake Griffin was not posting up slender 6-7 Duncan Robinson when he had the chance. Griffin had such a physical mismatch. when Robinson eas guarding him.

One announcer wondered a loud why Griffin seemed to just hang around the three-point line.

Of course they were seeing the new, but not improved, Griffin. He struggled with double teams, and did not look to post up. Six of his eight shots were three-pointers, and he only made one of them.

Griffin is only making 31% of his three-point attempts on the season, so it is not a high-percentage shot for him.

He finished with five points and five rebounds.

Next. Should the Pistons trade for Kevin Porter Jr.?. dark

Miami did what it needed to do to win, which is what successful teams do. That is something the Pistons still need to learn. A team like the Heat is not going to quit when they are down by 19 in the first quarter.

Next, Detroit travels to Atlanta for a Wednesday night game with the Hawks. Atlanta had won their first matchup pretty easily, 128-120.