Detroit controlled the game from start to finish. Yes, you read that correctly. The Pistons played about as well as they could have hoped to play, and beat the two-time defending NBA champions on their home floor -- and there was never really a doubt.
Miami made a nice run during the middle of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to three points (91-88), and a patented fourth quarter collapse seemed all but imminent. But, key defensive plays that turned into easy transition buckets - especially from Brandon Jennings who beautifully stripped the ball from LeBron James as he was about to rise for one of his patented fast-break dunks - kept the Pistons in control.
A few made free throws later, it was over.
Arguably, it was the strongest overall performance from the Pistons this season. If you skipped this one expecting the Heat to run away with one, you missed out.
What Stood Out:
The Pistons perimeter shooting: they connected on seven of their sixteen three-point attempts (43.8%).
The Pistons defense: it wasn't perfect, and Wade's absence certainly helped, but the Pistons held the Heat to just under forty-four percent shooting from the field.
The Pistons' ability to clean the glass: they smacked the Heat on the glass, outrebounding them forty-six to thirty-four.
A balanced offensive attack: seven Pistons scored in double digits, and only three took ten or more shots to get there.
Who Stood Out:
Kyle Singler was huge. He hit four of his seven three-point attempts and finished with eighteen points on only ten shots.
Andre Drummond was unstoppable ... when he was on the floor. Foul trouble limited his minutes, and he eventually fouled out. But when he was out there, he was nothing short of brilliant. Ten points, eighteen boards, two steals, and one block in just under twenty-three (!!) minutes. Are you kidding me?
Brandon Jennings' stat line won't blow anyone away, but he was clutch in the fourth quarter.
- The Heat managed to get up twenty-eight three-point attempts but converted only nine. A lot of them were pretty good looks, and while it was a great win, the Pistons dodged a few bullets here.
- Michael Beasley might be the difference for the Heat this season. It's not even April Fool's Day.
- Jonas Jerebko played ten solid minutes of basketball, scoring seven and snagging three boards.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope only played twenty minutes, but they were productive -- and more importantly, under control and within his skills.
- Rodney Stuckey struggled taking care of the ball, but he continues to bull his way to the free-throw line, hitting all eight of his attempts for half of his sixteen points.
- Josh Smith took twenty-one shots and turned it over three times en route to fifteen points. The Pistons managed to dominate the Heat in spite of another Smoove performance. He did crush Chris Bosh on a transition dunk, though. Coupled with the win, all is forgiven.
Roll Call, where we are all smackdab witnesses: