Wade leads Heat to 92-65 win over Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Miami Heat haven’t had many things come easily this season, and Friday started off like another long night.
After all, Heat forward Michael Beasley(notes) missed his first game of the season with a hyperextended right knee, and Miami got another scare when Jermaine O’Neal(notes) went down with a knee injury in the first minute.
It didn’t matter.
“That was the definition of a team win,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “We have a lot of wounded guys right now, so this had to be one of our best defensive efforts, period. We were banged up, and we came up with a win. That’s encouraging.”
Despite the lopsided final score, Wade insisted it hadn’t been a simple victory.
“The game is never as easy as it looks in this league,” he said. “We lost by 39 the other night in Charlotte—that happens in the NBA. We knew that Detroit had lost three in a row, so we wanted to jump on them early. I thought we did that—we set the tone.”
The Pistons have lost 18 of their last 22 games but were still one of the league’s best rebounding teams. Friday, even that failed them. Miami had 17 offensive rebounds, just one fewer than Detroit’s defensive total, and had a 35-7 edge on the other end of the floor.
No Pistons player had more than four rebounds.
“Give Miami a lot of credit—they did a great job attacking the boards on both ends,” said Pistons coach John Kuester. “We’ve been a good rebounding team, but right now we’ve got to go back to the drawing board.”
That’s not the only problem Kuester has to fix. Detroit only missed the franchise record for fewest points by one, and failed to break 100 for the 21st time in 22 games.
“We obviously can’t stand pat with this kind of performance—there will have to be some changes somewhere,” he said. “We have to find a way to get 48 minutes of energy out of this team. We had it the other night against Memphis, but we didn’t have it today.”
Detroit only trailed 26-23 after one quarter, but were shut down by Miami’s defense in the next two periods. The Heat outscored the Pistons 21-13 in the second to take an 11-point halftime lead, then held Detroit to just two points in the first seven minutes of the third.
“There is no way we should score like this with the offensive guys we’ve got on this team,” said Richard Hamilton(notes), who finished with eight points on 4-of-14 shooting. “We’ve got to get better. This was a bad night in all aspects of the game.”
The Heat built a 57-40 lead, and led by as many as 29 points in the fourth.
“This was one of our best team efforts of the season,” Wade said. “Everybody came in and did something different, and that’s just what we needed.”
NOTES: Ben Gordon(notes) returned for Detroit after missing eight games with a groin injury. Gordon played 13 minutes, scoring 10 points, while Chucky Atkins(notes) played 15 minutes despite a sternum injury that leaves him unable to shoot. … Detroit missed 10 of its first 11 shots in the third quarter. … The Heat improved to 15-0 when holding its opponents under 90 points.