MIAMI — The Detroit Pistons had their most dominant quarter in nearly two years. And last season’s NBA Finals trip for the Miami Heat suddenly seems long ago.
Jerami Grant scored 24 points, Derrick Rose had 23 off the bench and the Pistons – the team with the NBA’s worst record – came into Miami and beat the Heat 120-100 on Saturday night, sending the reigning Eastern Conference champions to a third consecutive loss.
The teams meet again Monday in Miami.
Blake Griffin scored 15 points for Detroit, which outscored Miami 38-19 in the third quarter to turn a four-point halftime deficit into a game fully under Pistons’ control. It was the biggest margin the Pistons outscored an opponent by in their last 331 quarters, going back to April 9, 2019.
Bam Adebayo scored 28 points for Miami, which got 22 from Duncan Robinson, 16 from KZ Okpala and 12 from Goran Dragic.
Miami was without Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley (both coronavirus-related), Tyler Herro (neck spasms) and Meyers Leonard (shoulder).
It was a no-doubter in the second half. The Pistons eventually led by 23, their biggest lead in any game so far this season. Miami has trailed by at least 23 points in four of its first 11 games; that happened in four of the 73 Heat regular-season games a year ago.
The Heat got six players back – including Adebayo, Okpala and Dragic – from the NBA’s health and safety protocols list, all after missing time because contact tracing said they may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Isaiah Stewart had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons. Detroit improved to 3-9, avoiding what would have been a tie for the worst 12-game start in franchise history. The Pistons were 2-10 in 2012-13, 1980-81 and 1962-63.