Detroit Pistons go stone cold during 3rd quarter in 108-74 loss at Miami
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI — The outcome was in doubt at halftime.
It didn’t stay that way for long.
And thanks to a 21-0 run to open the second half, the Miami Heat now have a tiny bit of breathing room in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The biggest Heat run of the season led to the biggest Heat win of the season, a 108-74 romp past the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
“Just a professional win by us tonight,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “We played against a team that wasn’t making shots early, and we continued to keep going at them and continued to keep applying pressure.”
Justise Winslow scored 16 points for Miami, which had seven players in double figures. Dion Waiters scored 14, Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside each had 13 and Wade finished with 11 for Miami.
Miami’s starting five — Richardson, Winslow, Waiters, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk — played 12 minutes together. They shot 12 for 17, 4 for 4 from 3-point range and Miami outscored Detroit 36-13 in those 12 minutes.
“Our starting lineup has had some good starts and some play that’s been trending in the right direction,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But that was as inspiring as they’ve been.”
Blake Griffin scored 13 points for Detroit, which got 11 from Wayne Ellington. Detroit missed its first 11 shots of the third quarter, eight of them from 3-point range.
The Pistons have now dropped consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 25 and 29 — and both were blowout losses, with this one on the heels of a 103-75 rout in Brooklyn on Wednesday.
“It’s about our mental fortitude and coming out and having a better mindset at the beginning of games, myself included,” Griffin said. “I’m not excluding myself from that at all. If we have any fight about us at all we’ll come out and rectify that.”
Miami (32-35) is still No. 8 in the East, now two games ahead of No. 9 Orlando and two games back of No. 7 Detroit.
Andre Drummond fouled out with 6:30 left and finished with five points and nine rebounds — snapping his run of 19 consecutive double-doubles, which left him tied with Bob Lanier for the Pistons’ all-time record streak in that department.
It wasn’t Drummond’s night.
It wasn’t the Pistons’ night in any way. They shot 36 percent, got outrebounded 51-36 and were 8 for 37 from 3-point range — 1 for 17 in the second half. It went down as Detroit’s second-worst loss of the season, topped only by a 37-pointer at Indiana on Dec. 28.
“For two games in a row now, we didn’t come out in playoff mode,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.