HEAT 107 - Pistons 111 Game Recap

Photo Credit: Chris Schwegler
by Joe Beguiristain

The Miami HEAT fell to the Detroit Pistons 111-107 Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena. Goran Dragić led the way for the HEAT with 33 points.

1. Dragić Records A Season High

While Dragić had a slow start in the first half, he absolutely cooked Detroit in the third quarter for 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

Of course, he knocked down a bevy of mid-range jumpers and treys in the period, but his most impressive play of the flurry came on this fantastic steal and finish with contact against Blake Griffin:


The Dragon then carried over his sharp play into the fourth, where he hit this extremely difficult three despite getting fouled by Ish Smith:

Simply put, the Slovenian looked very much like an All-Star on Saturday night.

In addition to his season and team-high 33 points on 13-of-23 shooting, Dragić also accumulated six assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block.

2. J. Rich Sharp In The Fourth

Although Josh Richardson had a quick start, he made some huge plays in the fourth quarter to help Miami.

Not only did he score seven straight points for the HEAT early on in the period, but he also defended Griffin very well on back-to-back possessions.

After drawing an offensive foul on the former Clipper with 6:44 left in the game, he then stole the ball from him in the post the next time down.

Otherwise, Richardson defended Stanley Johnson, Ish Smith and Reggie Bullock throughout the contest.

In all, the 24-year-old Richardson totaled 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, six assists, three steals and a block.

3. JJ Turns Things Around

After not playing as well as he’s used to over the past few games, James Johnson flipped the script in a big way on Saturday night. Simply put, the burly forward was a force on both ends of the court, as he attacked the basket, knocked down some treys and competed very hard on the defensive end against both Griffin and Andre Drummond.

Let’s take a look at two of his more impressive sequences early in the second quarter.

While that was nice, absolutely nothing compares to this massive jam Johnson had over Drummond in the fourth:

Yup, that was nasty.

When it was all said and done, Johnson tallied 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, a team-high seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.

4. K.O. Stays Crafty

Kelly Olynyk was locked in from the very beginning in his first start since Jan. 10, as he wisely took advantage of mismatches and finished a bunch of plays at the rim.

Naturally, one of his more impressive plays of the night came early in the second quarter on his patented “Kelly Keeper”.

In all, the 7-footer amassed 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and a team-high plus-10 rating.

Other Takeaways:

-While Bam Adebayo didn’t score as much as he did on Friday, he was just as impressive on the defensive end against another great player in Griffin.

Adebayo finished with four points and five boards to go along with that block above.

Game Note:

-Hassan Whiteside (illness) sat out. Derrick Jones Jr. (Sioux Falls assignment), Derrick Walton Jr. (Sioux Falls assignment), Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery), Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery), Okaro White (left foot surgery) and A.J. Hammons (Sioux Falls assignment) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will finally return home to face the Magic Monday night at 7:30 PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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