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Pistons vs. Heat final score: Blake Griffin struggles, Bam Adebayo dominates in Miami’s win

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The Pistons won despite Bam Adebayo’s brilliance on Saturday. Monday, they weren’t so lucky.

Detroit Pistons v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Losing isn’t fun, but the Detroit Pistons are making it tolerable.

Coming off a blowout win over the Miami Heat on Saturday, the Pistons were back at it in Miami on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you were hoping to see their first winning streak of the season, you’ll have to wait a little longer.

Detroit led by as many as 19 points early, but the Heat took control in the second half to win it 113-107 on Monday.

Despite a 27-point effort from Jerami Grant — his 12th-straight game with 20+ points — the Heat kept the Pistons under wraps for most of the night. After exploding for 36 points in the first quarter, Detroit mustered just 44 over the second and third.

There were some nice individual performances, mainly Grant, who added a season-best six assists. Wayne Ellington started and hit seven threes en route to 24 points. Mason Plumlee scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half, including this including this BODY’ING of Adebayo in the first half:

After a promising game Saturday, Blake Griffin was a complete non-factor, to the point that I forgot about him during the third quarter.

He scored just 5 points on 2-of-8 shooting, playing a mind-numbing 35 minutes in what was by far his least-effective performance of the season. Griffin also banged knees with Goran Dragic in the final seconds of a game the Pistons were out of. Hopefully it’s nothing.

As much as it sucks, I do understand in some ways why the Pistons are playing Blake like they are. You have to showcase him, hope it clicks and he’s back. But as each game passes by, it’s becoming more and more apparent that he isn’t simply shaking off the rust.

I’m wondering when they realize nobody is trading for him. Is it after they get no calls at the deadline? Even then, do they have a plan once that becomes apparent? We can only hope. Once the deadline comes and goes, there’s no reason Griffin should be playing 30 minutes a night while the kids hover around 15 or so.

Hell, he shouldn’t be now.

Speaking of the kids, there wasn’t much to see there.

Saddiq Bey, Sekou Doumbouya, Isaiah Stewart and Svi Mykhailiuk played eight or fewer minutes over the first two-plus quarters, missing all four shots they took as the Pistons were outscored by 6 to 11 points when they were on the floor.

Svi, Sekou, and Stewart made cameos in the late third, but Bey remained glued to the bench.

As for the highest-scoring bench in the NBA, it was a tale of two men. Derrick Rose picked up where he left off last game, scoring 18 points with 5 rebounds, while Josh Jackson has appeared regain some of his pre-injury form with 12 points.

That rebound is good to see. Jackson is one of the few non-kids who has a future here.

This is likely due to closings related to the pandemic, but undefeated no more is the after effects of a long weekend in South Beach. There weren’t any residual effects, like guys being hungover beyond belief during the game, as the Pistons led by 16 early.

Yes, the Heat were again without Jimmy Butler due to health protocols, but this wasn’t some group of G Leaguers: Adebayo, Dragic, and Duncan Robinson all played.

I’m amazed every time I watch Adebayo, though. After a 28-point, 7-rebound, 6-assist, 3-block effort in the loss on Saturday, he scored 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out 5 assists on Monday.

Some of the guys who played out of their mind in the bubble (like Jamal Murray) have regressed this season — Adebayo is not one of them. He’s a bonafide star.

The Heat shot almost 60% from the field as the Pistons struggled to slow them. Robinson got open threes, finishing with 18 points, while Dragic slithered his way to 22 points and Kendrick Nunn added 18 points off the bench.

Detroit rallied late as Grant’s driving layup got them within 108-105, but couldn’t get the stops necessary to do more. The Pistons, as they always do, played a close game against a superior team.

The problem tonight was that it was the veterans who ushered them to the finish line... not the kids. Why is Griffin playing nearly as many minutes as the kids (39 minutes) are, combined?

We’re all here for close losses as the #FadeForCade continues, but Dwane Casey’s lineup decisions (sure, sure, probably merit based, but still) are about the only thing keeping these losses from being perfect.

The Pistons, who falls to 3-10, return to action against Atlanta on Wednesday.