The Miami Heat is in the hunt for the No. 7 seed and six minutes of dominance Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons in Miami helped the Heat’s cause.
Miami, which had won four of its last six entering the game, ripped off 21 straight points to open the third quarter to blow out the Pistons, 108-74, in front of 19,600 at American Airlines Arena. The win moved the Heat within two games of Detroit for No. 7 seed and built a two-game cushion on the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets, who are tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
The first quarter was near flawless for the Heat, too. Miami (32-35) opened on an 8-0 run, with a three-pointer by point forward Justise Winslow, an and-one by post player Bam Adebayo and a breakaway dunk by combo guard Josh Richardson. The Heat shot 12 of 18 from the field in the first quarter, including 4 of 7 from three-point range. Miami led 30-18 at the end of the period, and stretched the lead out to 14 points early in the second quarter before the Pistons (34-33) chipped away and cut the lead to 54-49 at halftime.
Six minutes later, it was a rout. The Heat ripped of 21 straight points to open the third. Detroit didn’t even score until 5:27 remained in the period, at which point Miami held an insurmountable 75-49. During the 21-0 run, the Heat shot 6 of 10 from the floor, 2 of 2 from beyond the arc and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. Adebayo scored seven of his 10 points, fellow post player Kelly Olynyk scored five of his nine and wing Dion Waiters scored five of his 14.
The run began with an and-one by Olynyk, then two free throws by Adebayo and a three by Waiters. Richardson stole the ball from Blake Griffin on the next possession and lobbed to Adebayo for an alley-oop. A possession later, Adebayo went coast to coast, drawing a foul from guard Reggie Jackson near the free-throw line and getting to the basket to finish an and-one.
In the next minute, the two teams combined for eight fouls, and Jackson and Pistons coach Dwane Casey both landed technical fouls. With 5:59 left in the quarter, Winslow, who finished with a team-high 16 points, capped the run with a three from the left corner before Griffin finally sunk a pair of free throws. Detroit didn’t score a field goal, however, until post player Thon Maker hit a jumper with 2:52 left in the quarter.