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Heat snap four-game skid behind Adebayo power play in 108-95 victory in Detroit

DETROIT — Having lost earlier in the week to the even-worse Washington Wizards, this was nothing the Miami Heat could afford to take for granted.

So they didn’t, pushing past the Detroit Pistons 108-95 Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.

Now all they have to do is do it again, when the teams meet Sunday back on the Pistons’ court.

Having snapped a four-game losing streak, the Heat still find themselves with minimal margin for error in their bid to avoid the play-in round ahead of the NBA playoffs.

“Collectively we were able to come together and get the job done,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The spirit was good.”

Center Bam Adebayo stepped up and did his part with 22 points and nine rebounds, with Duncan Robinson taking care of the outside punch in a 16-point effort that included four 3-pointers.

Factor in 18 points apiece from Terry Rozier, 18 and Caleb Martin and 14 from Jimmy Butler and the Heat moved to 36-30, while the Pistons fell to 12-54, ultimately done in by their turnover troubles, committing 18 that led to 33 Heat points.

‘We said that all year long, we’re at our best when we’re disruptive,” Spoelstra said.

Heat pest Simone Fontecchio led the Pistons with 24 points, on a night the Heat limited Detroit’s Cade Cunningham to 11 on 5-of-15 shooting.

“This was our breakthrough game,” Martin said. “We’re just using this for momentum,”

The game opened a four-game trip that continues after Sunday with a Monday game against the Philadelphia 76ers and a Wednesday night game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Heat continuing to play in the injury absences of Tyler Herro and Kevin Love.

“Now we have to gear up, rest up, heal up and get ready for the matinee game,” Spoelstra said.

Five Degrees of Heat from Friday night’s game:

1. Game flow: The Pistons led 28-27 after the first period, before the Heat took a 56-54 lead into halftime and then led 84-72 going into the fourth.

The Heat then pushed their lead into the 20s in the final period, with Martin’s energy and Thomas Bryant’s inside play at center allowing Spoelstra to rest Adebayo and Butler in the fourth.

Martin closed 8 of 14 from the field, with eight rebounds and six assists.

“Caleb, his spirit, his voice, all of that was contagious,” Spoelstra said.

Bryant finished with 11 points and five rebounds, with Adebayo appreciative of Bryant affording him the time off in the fourth.

“A well-needed rest,” Adebayo said.

2. On a roll: Adebayo was up to 16 points and seven rebounds by the intermission, with all 16 points in the second period.

Adebayo’s career high for a period is 19, against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2021. The 16 were one off Adebayo’s career high for a second period.

He closed 10 of 14 from the field,

“He wanted to make sure to impose his identity on both ends of the court,” Spoelstra said. “Defensively, he was everywhere, and that’s what your leaders do.”

3. Another three: Adebayo made a 3-pointer for the second consecutive game – the first time he has done so in his seven-season career – when he converted from the top of the circle with 8:30 left in the second period.

“I’m good with him shooting that,” Spoelstra said. “If they’re playing way back, he’s a good decision maker.”

Adebayo had made his lone attempt in Wednesday night’s home loss to the Denver Nuggets and now has attempted four 3-pointers over the last five games.

He improved to 3 of 16 for the season with Friday’s conversion.

“Might as well,” Adebayo said of launching when so open.

The three 3-pointers tie his high for a season, when he went 3 of 15 in his second season in 2018-19.

4. Power of the 3: In going from 3 of 20 on 3-pointers to 5 of 22 with a pair of Robinson conversions, the Heat moved to an 80-65 lead and forced a Pistons timeout with 2:56 left in the third period.

Robinson then converted a third consecutive 3-pointer after that timeout to move to 4 of 9 from beyond the arc and lift the Heat to an 83-65 lead.

“He’s as ignitable as anybody in this league,” Spoelstra said. “Sometimes he hits one of those, it can become an avalanche from there.”

The four 3-pointers left Robinson one shy of 1,000 for his career.

“And I had three chances there at the end to get it here in a win,” Robinson said with a smile.

5. Attack mode: Rozier played in attack mode, with eyes on the rim, compensating for his attempts that didn’t drop by working his way to the line.

“Terry was terrific with his activity,” Spoelstra said.

While Rozier closed 5 of 15 from the field, also went 8 of 11 from the line.

Remaining to be seen is whether Rozier’s volume shooting can coexist with Herro’s volume shooting.

The aggression was welcomed and needed in this one.