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The Detroit Pistons, coming off yet another blown double-digit lead in a loss to the Bulls, traveled to South Beach to take on the defending champion Miami Heat. The Pistons hadn’t won in Miami since 2008 and wouldn’t have much luck tonight.
The first one and a half quarters were fun for Pistons fans. The first quarter saw Greg Monroe knock down 4/4 field goals and 5/6 free throws for 13 points. It saw Brandon Knight split double-teams and get a circus shot to go. Tayshaun Prince knocked down two triples. Knight found Andre Drummond for a dunk for one of his four 1st quarter assists. Even Rodney Stuckey hit a running buzzer beater for a 31-30 lead after a quarter.
The second quarter started with a Will Bynum put back off an Austin Daye miss. Stuckey then had a break away dunk off of a Norris Cole turnover. Monroe had a layup and a tip in. Daye then banked in a jumper and the Pistons had a 41-32 lead in Miami and were looking confident.
Then MVP LeBron James and his partner in crime, Dwyane Wade took over. Miami went on a 28-6 run. Wade started it with a slam, then he had a jumper, then he split a double-team for a layup, and Mike Miller followed that up with a step in jumper and the Heat were within 43-40. Then James got into the action. James had a turnaround jumper. Then after another Drummond dunk for Detroit, Wade threw up a prayer with his eyes closed, left handed, and he was tackled by Daye. Somehow the ball found the net and he made the free throw. That tied it at 45 and the floodgates opened.
Wade a layup, James a jam, Wade two free throws, Wade a tough jumper over Kyle Singler, James a free throw, and then a dunk contest broke out between the two. First James threw an alley-oop that Wade just threw down with authority. Then Wade flipped an alley-oop to James who slammed it home. Then Wade found a cutting James, who threw down a one-handed slam for a 60-47 lead and the American Airlines Arena crowd was in a frenzy.
Prince had a hook shot and Bynum had a reverse layup to bring the Pistons to within 60-51 at the half. Detroit had a chance to make it seven at the half, but Wade had a chase down block on Singler.
The third quarter didn’t start much better. Knight turned the ball over which turned into another James dunk. Monroe answered with a hook shot, but James in turn made a fadeaway jumper over Knight. After a Knight layup and a free throw, Monroe had a layup to bring the Pistons within 66-58. Mario Chalmers answered with a 3 which was followed by more James free throws and a 71-58 lead. Monroe tried desperately to keep the Pistons in it. He had 14 points in the third quarter. Knocking down tough layups and jumpers over Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem. Monroe hit two free throws to bring the Pistons within 81-68 but Ray Allen answered with a 3-pointer for Miami and an 84-68 lead for the Heat after three. Monroe had 14 of the Pistons’ 17 points in the third quarter.
Monroe was taken out of the game early in the fourth quarter after Wade had a reverse layup and Cole had another layup for a 91-70 lead for Miami. Detroit went with the reserves as the one highlight for Detroit was Drummond jumping the passing lane at halfcourt for the steal and the dunk. Jonas Jerebko got playing time for the first time since the Pistons’ Dec. 21st win over the Washington Wizards. In the end, the Pistons were defeated 110-88 and they fell to 4-16 on the road.
Wade had 29 and seven assists for Miami with James getting 23 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Bosh had 14 and seven boards.
Monroe led the Pistons with 31 points and 12 rebounds but the only other Piston in double-figures was Bynum with 13. A far cry from the Pistons’ 109-99 win over Miami on Dec. 28 in Auburn Hills when six different Pistons scored in double figures. Up next is a trip to Orlando to face the Magic on Sunday night. Some good news on the night, the Boston Celtics fell in Atlanta in double-overtime 123-111. That keeps the Pistons only four games back of the eight place Celtics with 39 games still to play.