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Rock Bottom? Heat humiliated 116-96 by lowly Pistons despite Tyler Herro’s 34 – The Denver Post



There was no easy alternative Tuesday night for the Miami Heat: Either win or recognize this as rock bottom.

Coming off a Monday night road loss to a Memphis Grizzlies team that rested four of their five starters, the Heat this time found themselves against a Detroit Pistons team that entered 6-19, the second worst record in the NBA, already without sidelined future star Cade Cunningham.

With Tyler Herro at the top of his game, Jimmy Butler skipping the game and Victor Oladipo in his first game of the season, there should have been more than enough for Erik Spoelstra’s team.

There wasn’t.

Not even close.

Instead, a 116-96 loss at FTX Arena that snapped a five-game home winning streak.

“All of us will work to find some solutions,” Spoelstra said. “None of us feel great about this.”

Herro led the Heat with 34 points, with center Bam Adebayo adding a 21-point, 15-rebound double-double.

The humbling moments against the Grizzlies and Pistons came after what appeared to be a breakthrough road victory Friday night against the Boston Celtics.

“I feel like we start to get a little ahead of ourselves,” Herro said of the Heat’s optimism that crashed and burned these past two nights.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 31 points.

“I don’t know,” Heat point guard Kyle Lowry said. “It’s hard to put into words what happened.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Tuesday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat built an early 11-point lead, led 25-20 after the first quarter and 50-47 at halftime.

The Pistons then utilized a 21-9 third-quarter run to move to a 78-73 lead going into the fourth, moving to a 93-84 lead with 6:46 left.

From there, Detroit extended its lead to 103-88, forcing a Heat timeout with 4:24 to play, finding surprisingly little resistance, with Spoelstra emptying the bench down 109-90 with 2:01 to play.

“The defense in the fourth quarter certainly was not to our standard,” Spoeltstra said, with the Heat outscored 38-23 in the period.

“We will be better than what we showed tonight. Nobody feels good about the last 48 hours.”

2. Herro ball: Herro continues to set the offensive pace for the Heat, this time with 11 first-quarter points on the way to 21 first-half points.

Herro closed the first half 7 of 7 from the field, 5 of 5 from the line and 2 of 2 on 3-pointers.

Herro’s first missed shot came on a 12-foot jumper with 7:40 left in the third period. He had made his first eight attempts from the field. He finished 12 of 17 from the field, 8 of 8 from the line, with six assists.

“I’m not focused on my scoring or my stats,” Herro said. “I want to win.

“We need to put a full 48 minutes together.”

3. Adebayo, too: With Butler out, it basically was a one-two punch for the Heat between Herro and Adebayo.

With his double-double, Adebayo tied Sherman Douglas for 15th on the Heat all-time list. He closed 9 of 16 from the field.

The problem for the Heat was there was almost nothing beyond Herro and Adebayo, Max Strus, with 11 points, the only other Heat player scoring in double figures.

“We’re just coming up short right now,” Adebayo said. “The basketball gods must be mad at us or something.”

4. Heat lite: In addition to giving Butler the night off, the Heat also were without backup center Dewayne Dedmon and backup point guard Gabe Vincent.

Spoelstra, though, said he continues to see hope of health.

“Things are trending better from a health standpoint,” he said. “Guys are starting to feel better.”

Also inactive were backup center Omer Yurtseven, who is recovering from ankle surgery, and Jamal Cain, the forward on a two-way who played Tuesday night for the G League Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Nikola Jovic played as the Heat’s backup center, checking in with 5:38 left in the first quarter after Adebayo was called for his second foul, with the Heat then shifting to zone defense.

5. Oladipo returns: Oladipo made his season debut when he checked in for Caleb Martin with 3:47 to play in the opening period, receiving a warm ovation.

Oladipo took a hard fall when he was fouled on his first touch, rising quickly and converting both free throws, for his lone points of the first period.

Oladipo’s first stint lasted eight minutes, playing almost exclusively in the Heat’s zone defense.

In all, Oladipo played 19 minutes, closing with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting, two rebounds and two assists.

“Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted or I wanted,” Oladipo said. “I’m just happy to play again. It’s just good to be out there.

“I’m optimistic, just going to keep getting better, and everything else will take care of itself.”

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