This hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for the Miami Heat. The expectations of a three-peat with a squad that’s growing older, and more for LeBron James to burden than before. The team needed an easy win for a change, and got just that from the Detroit Pistons, winning 110-78 with James pulling off his first triple double of the season.
No Ray Allen, no Mario Chalmers and no Dwyane Wade. This might be the defending champion, but these injuries take a toll. James finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists and walked all over a broken Pistons team that’s not even trying anymore to hide the fact that this season is a failure and going nowhere.
James didn’t even have to play in the fourth quarter, sufficed with 30 minutes of basketball, which is something that hasn’t happened too much for him recently. Wade getting all that rest and games constantly being a lot more difficult than we’re used to seeing from the Heat means more minutes from James. He prefers not to be forced into scoring 30-40 points in a game. If he can hang around the top of the key and feed other players with passes, he actually seems happier and more content.
Good thing that the Pistons, a team that on paper should have a very difficult defense to score against, are in no shape to make things hard on anyone. The Heat shot 54.4% from the field and 42.1% from beyond the arc. Udonis Haslem scored 17 points as well, as he always enjoys the moments of James playing point guard, while Haslem finds himself wide open for those corner shots, pretty much the only offensive weapon he has left.
Chris Bosh had 15 points with 9 rebounds in a good performance against a frontcourt that should be a lot more complicated to handle. Andre Drummond did finish with 14 rebounds, 6 of them on the offensive glass, but the Pistons actually lost the rebounding battle to the Heat thanks to their usual brand of atrocious shooting, without anything resembling team play and set possessions, hitting 38% from the field and only 3-of-24 from beyond the arc. As usual, it was easiest to spot the dissension with the Josh Smith – Brandon Jennings combination, getting 6-of-22 from the duo in their shooting.
James Jones got to start, scoring 10 points on 3-of-6 from the field. Toney Douglas who is finding himself in the lineup more and more of late due to injuries had 9 points, but both players aren’t likely to feature much in the playoffs if things go well for Miami, health-wise that is.
Norris Cole had what might have been his best game in quite a while, scoring 13 points off the bench, joining Chris Andersen with 12 points to make it six players scoring in double figures. Doing it against the Pistons in Detroit isn’t exactly a huge achievement, but for a Miami team that’s struggling to find consistency in the last month, getting an easy win which means some rest to their stars for a chance is incredibly important, and hopefully beneficial.
This was one of those games where we had to have different guys step up. You can’t make excuses about lineups and injuries in this league. We’ve got to win games with the guys you can put on the floor every night.