It might have seemed like a mismatch based on records, seeing as how Miami at 39-15 had one of the best records in the NBA coming into its matchup against Detroit. But the Pistons, who started the season horribly at 4-20, have been 17-14 since that start, including winning five of their last seven.
A tough matchup didn't materialize, however, as LeBron James asserted himself with 26 points in 32 minutes, including 11 in the third quarter. That helped the Heat put the Pistons away in Miami, 98-75.
James and the Heat had to get things done without the services of Dwyane Wade, who missed the game with an injured ankle. Assisting the cause was the play of James Jones, who played the most minutes in a game since Jan. 17 against the Spurs.
Jones scored a season-high 18 points, shooting 6-8 behind the three-point arc, which represented the entirety of his attempts. Jones hit three in the second quarter as the Heat established a double-digit lead before halftime. He added three more in the fourth to help put the game away.
Brandon Knight, playing in front of the hometown folks and friends in Miami, led the Pistons with 6-12 shooting and 16 points, playing with an extra aggression and hop to his step. But he was the only one clicking for Detroit. The rest of the team misfired on 41 of 63 shots for a 35-percent night. The Pistons problems from the field against Miami's top 5 defense led to a season-low eight assists for the entire game.
Chris Bosh wasn't incredibly effective but stayed active, scoring 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds as the Heat rebounded from their first home loss in 18 games Friday night against Memphis and extending their league-best home record to 24-3. The Heat are also 10-1 in games without Wade in the lineup.
James looked like he was going to get the fourth quarter off, but the Pistons cut a 24-point lead down to 16 on the back of a last-gasp 10-2 run, forcing LeBron back into the game. The comeback ended abruptly for Detroit, as James Jones had a steal and two three-pointers while the Heat went on a 14-2 run to end all hope for the Pistons and give James and Bosh a break for the rest of the game.
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