Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami
So how did it all transpire?
Don't let the final score fool you, as Miami trailed as late as the 2:48 mark of the third quarter. It just so happens that Detroit crumbled down the stretch and the Heat made a strong enough push to spread the score out.
It was another MVP-caliber performance from LeBron James, as he finished with 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting. The true star of the evening, however, was Pistons big man Greg Monroe, who tallied 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.
Even still, Miami managed to hold on for a victory that pushes the team to eight games behind the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' NBA record of 33 straight wins. Next is a home game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Before we look ahead, however, we must review a riveting Miami victory.
Mario Chalmers, Point Guard
Overall Grade: B+
Minutes Played: 26
Stat Line: 11 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 4 steals, 3/6 3PT
Mario Chalmers has never been the most glamorous player, but he does the dirty work for the Miami Heat. Friday night was no different, as Chalmers recovered from a slow defensive start to pile up the steals and make key three-pointers.
That includes a three-ball that brought Miami within three points approaching halftime—a shot which set the tone for a second-half turnaround.
Prior to and after that three, Chalmers picked up key steals to spark Miami's offensive recovery. He did it again in the third, setting Dwyane Wade up to draw a foul and tie the game.
Chalmers' work against Jose Calderon in the second half also led to Detroit's offense becoming stagnant and Miami avoiding an upset.
Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard
Overall Grade: B
Minutes Played: 38
Stat Line: 19 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 6 turnovers, 7/17 FG
Dwyane Wade started out horribly, closed out well and made up for virtually all of his mistakes. That's just what superstars do.
Wade scored 11 points in the second half, including six consecutive to bring Miami within one point during the third quarter. He attacked the basket well off of the bounce, but failed to keep his balance when shooting from the perimeter.
Wade also committed six turnovers for the game and four in the first half.
Fortunately, Wade came to life in the third and fourth quarters, cutting down on the turnovers at the same time. It's no coincidence that his increase in production led to a victory.
Wade was the jolt needed for a win and the reason for a near-loss.
LeBron James, Small Forward
Overall Grade: A+
Minutes Played: 40
Stat Line: 29 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 12/15 FG
What more can you say?
On a night in which no player on the Miami Heat truly deserved an A+, LeBron James still found a way to earn it. He finished with yet another near-triple-double and made 12-of-15 field goals.
Per usual, LeBron's statistics were mind-boggling.
The truth of the matter is, it wasn't LeBron's numbers that earned him this grade. Instead, it was the fact that James continues to come up big in the clutch in a variety of different ways.
For instance, James dished out four assists in the fourth quarter alone. Although he failed to score a fourth-quarter point until the Heat owned a 16-point lead, LeBron stepped up as a facilitator.
He also contributed to locking down Rodney Stuckey, although Kyle Singler did go off for 18 efficient points against LeBron.
Overall, everyone on the Heat could have been better. With that being said, LeBron played as efficient a game as you could ask for.
The King strikes again.
Udonis Haslem, Power Forward
Overall Grade: B-
Minutes Played: 18
Stat Line: 4 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal
Udonis Haslem played 18 minutes, which suggests that he might have seen his contributions limited by time restrictions. Anyone who believes that to be true didn't see him dominate the glass for the league's worst rebounding team.
That's a statistical fact, not an opinion.
Haslem finished with four points, seven rebounds and two offensive boards. More importantly, he kept Miami in this one with a huge first quarter as the Pistons poured in 28 points and the Heat struggled to do anything.
It may not look pretty in the box score, but Haslem was a major reason the Heat were within striking distance to begin with.
Chris Bosh, Center
Overall Grade: D+
Minutes Played: 31
Stat Line: 5 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal, 1/7 FG, 3/6 FT
Chris Bosh is having an excellent season, but Friday night was far from a shining moment. In fact, this might have been Bosh's worst all-around game of 2012-13.
Between his shooting woes, rebounding ineptitude and inability to slow Greg Monroe down, Miami was left wondering when he would step up.
Bosh finished with five points and six rebounds on 1-of-7 shooting from the floor. His matchup, Monroe, tallied 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.
That's a great way to earn yourself a poor grade.
Furthermore, Bosh made just three of his six free-throw attempts. While some might contest that his energy and presence were beneficial, his opponent outclassed him in every sense of the word.
This may be a rare occasion, but it still transpired. Bosh's decision to go with 20-foot jump shots instead of close attempts hurt both him and the Heat Friday night.
Shane Battier, Sixth Man
Overall Grade: B-
Minutes Played: 30
Stat Line: 11 points, 1 rebound, 2 blocks, 3/7 FG, 2/5 3PT
This was your typical Shane Battier performance.
Battier came off of the bench to provide quality defensive pressure and floor-spacing three-point shooting. Battier did just that, converting 2-of-5 from distance and playing well on the other end of the floor.
He made three of his final four field goals and drew two fouls in a matter of 10 seconds. One of those hacks came on a three-point field-goal attempt.
Battier hit all three free throws.
Battier's defense was valuable, but he joined the rest of the Heat in being unable to slow down the sharpshooting Kyle Singler. Fortunately, Battier stepped up when it counted most.
Yet another quality outing from the former Duke Blue Devil.
Overall Grade: A+
Players Utilized: 7
Collective Stat Line: 35 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks
Outside of LeBron James and Greg Monroe, you could make a case that Norris Cole was the Player of the Game. Not only did he provide production while the veterans struggled, but he was the heart of this comeback.
In 22 minutes, Cole finished with 10 points, four assists, three rebounds and four steals.
Joining Cole on that front was Chris Andersen. Birdman contributed nine points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting, which led all of Miami's interior players.
That includes All-Star Chris Bosh.
Between Andersen's shot-blocking and Cole's ball-hawking, Miami managed to fight back into this battle against Detroit. Together, they led a third-quarter push and provided an otherwise absent form of defense.
An outstanding performance by Miami's bench.