The Miami Heat ended their four-game road trip Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons. Even shorthanded, the Heat still had an opportunity to finish the road trip strong against the struggling Pistons. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the job done. After a terrible third period, the Pistons took control of the game and won in the end. Miami was short on their three-pointers, slow on rotations, and out-rebounded. With the loss, Miami falls to 18-13 for the season. Here are my takeaways from Sunday’s loss in Detroit.
Be sure to catch the previous Heating Up from Friday Night.
Strus Excellent Again
Max Strus had another good game. Building off his career night against the Orlando Magic, Strus scored 15 points in the first half. He had the three-ball game going and was attacking the paint. Strus is showing he can be a consistent rotational player for the Heat when the team is healthy. While that doesn’t guarantee anything, he deserves strong consideration. With Miami’s starters struggling from three, Strus immediately comes in and helps in that department. He’s very consistent in that area of the floor. Most importantly, he’s very confident in his game. Strus ended the night with 24 points.
While Strus shot the ball well, his sharpshooter partner Duncan Robinson didn’t. Robinson was unable to get going from beyond the arc on Sunday. He was able to shake free a few times but couldn’t get any to go down. Robinson was good in other areas of the game though. He was able to generate open looks for Miami with his drives in the lane. On one play, he got the Pistons defense to collapse and hit Strus for an open jumper. Unfortunately, the three-pointers weren’t falling and that hurts Miami. Without their best scorers, this is a night where you need your best shooter to get going. Otherwise, the offense is in for a long night. Robinson ended the night with six points while shooting 2-of-10 from downtown.
The Heat’s Bigs Struggle
This wasn’t a good night for Miami’s centers as a whole. Dewayne Dedmon was in foul trouble for the majority of the game. As a result, the Heat had to play Omer Yurtseven more than they’re comfortable with. Yurtseven did help in the rebounding department with 12 rebounds. However, he was bad in other areas of the game. In the third period, Miami kept going to him while the offense was stagnant. Even though he was in the paint, Yurtseven is clearly not comfortable being fed there at this stage. He kept fumbling the ball and was not in good post position.
Tucker Gets Injured
Throughout the season, P.J. Tucker has proven his importance to this Heat team. He sets good screens, defends, rebounds, passes, and hits the corner three-pointers well. Without Bam Adebayo, he’s been the only guy who comes close to replicating what Adebayo does for the Heat on both ends. At times, he’s even bailed Miami out of rough offensive sets with timely three-pointers. Once Tucker went down, that’s where things went downhill. As mentioned above, Miami became more reliant on Yurtseven, which they normally don’t do. And playing KZ Okpala at the center spot does not work without Tucker playing alongside him. Without Tucker, things get even tougher for Miami. They lose another playmaker and an elite defender.
Next up: The Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. The game tips off at 7:30 pm EST.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin