FINAL: Heat 102, Pistons 96. LeBron, Wade and Bosh with 71 points combined.— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) February 4, 2014
The Heat led by as much as 15 with three minutes and 41 seconds to go, but the Pistons refused to go quietly. Still, it wasn't enough, as there simply was not enough time for Detroit to make any kind of extended run.
Miami wasn't at its best offensively in this one, shooting only 45.9 percent from the floor and turning the ball over 20 times. The Pistons turned those miscues into 30 points, one of the main reasons why they were able to remain in the game until the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
Spoelstra: "Overall, we played extremely hard. We didn't necessarily play smart the entire game."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 4, 2014
Detroit wasn't any better in terms of taking care of the basketball, as Maurice Cheeks' squad coughed up the rock 21 times. The Pistons also shot only 41 percent from the floor.
Brandon Jennings led Detroit with 26 points, and Rodney Stuckey added 20 off the bench.
Key Player Grades
LeBron James, Small Forward
Just another day at the office for LeBron.
The four-time MVP registered 24 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, making great decisions in the open floor and throwing down a phenomenal alley-oop slam.
James shot 9-of-19 and did his best to take advantage of mismatches against the likes of Kyle Singler and, occasionally, Stuckey.
Perhaps what was most impressive about LeBron's performance, though, was the fact that he only turned the ball over once.
Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard
Wade was sensational in this one.
The future Hall of Famer dropped 30 points on the Pistons, 18 of those coming in the first half. He also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists in what was easily one of his best performances of the season.
Looking like another Wade-spring-in-his-step game.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) February 4, 2014
Wade hit on 13 of his 19 shots and did it from all over the floor, getting into the paint, knocking down mid-range jumpers and even burying a back-breaking triple late in the contest.
Spoelstra on Wade: "The majority of it is him feeling good about his body."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 4, 2014
For someone who has been dealing with knee issues for a couple of years now, Wade certainly looked fresh on Monday night, even if head coach Erik Spoelstra wasn't happy with the amount of minutes his 2-guard logged.
Spoelstra on Wade: "The only knock was really on me. I ended up playing him 37 minutes. I would have liked to keep that down."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 4, 2014
Chris Bosh, Center
Chris Bosh did just about all of his damage in the first half.
The Miami big man scored 15 of his 17 points in the first 24 minutes, getting off to an incredible start by going 5-of-5 from the free-throw line in the first period alone.
However, Bosh disappeared in the second half and was beaten up on the glass by the Detroit bigs. Not that that is something to be ashamed of, as the Pistons lead the league in offensive rebounding, but it still affects Bosh's overall grade, nonetheless.
Bosh also curbed his aggressiveness in the second half after coming out of the gates so quickly.
He shot 5-of-8 from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds.
Mario Chalmers, Point Guard
This was a pretty disastrous outing for Mario Chalmers.
The floor general went 3-of-11 from the field, missing easy shots around the basket and misfiring on all four of his three-point tries.
Plus, Chalmers got used defensively by the Pistons backcourt throughout the game and committed five fouls in just 24 minutes.
'Rio finished with eight points, four assists and three steals.
Shane Battier, Power Forward
Shane Battier didn't contribute much in this one, and given Detroit's size, it's not hard to understand why.
Battier scored three points in 21 minutes, going 1-of-5 from the floor (1-of-4 from deep). He pulled down three rebounds.
The Pistons aren't exactly the best matchup for Shane.
Ray Allen, Sixth Man
Ray Allen hit what may have been the biggest shot of the game for Miami, burying a buzzer-beating triple at the end of the third quarter that pushed the Heat lead to four heading into the fourth.
Otherwise, Allen was pretty quiet.
The sharpshooter went 3-of-8 from the floor, missing all four of his two-point attempts (yes; two-point attempts). A couple of them were pretty easy looks, too.
Allen was also a liability defensively yet again, as evidenced in his minus-11 plus/minus.
He ended up with nine points and four boards in 25 minutes.
The most notable contribution off the Heat pine came from Greg Oden.
Oden only posted four points and three rebounds, but he did that in just 11 minutes, and he was doing a very solid job of taking up space inside.
Plus, when Oden was on the floor in the first half, the Heat were a plus-11.
Heat outscored Pistons 20-9 with Oden in the game.— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) February 4, 2014
Chris Andersen chipped in two points and three boards in 21 minutes, and Michael Beasley scored one bucket in just three minutes.
Norris Cole was nothing short of awful, going 1-of-8 from the floor, committing five fouls and three turnovers in 24 minutes. He was also burned defensively quite frequently.
What's Next for the Heat?
A long road trip.
The Heat will be away from home for almost three weeks after the victory over the Pistons, and most of the six games they will be playing during that stretch are not easy.
Buckle up, Miami.