James’ triple-double helps Heat pound Pistons

LeBron James had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Miami Heat build a big lead, and then he rested in the fourth quarter of a 110-78 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Rick Osentoski/Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. — At halftime, Hall of Famer and Bad Boy Isiah Thomas tried to start a "Beat the Heat" chant as the ceremony honoring the Bad Boys wrapped up.

The fans didn’t exactly pick up the chant and run with it.

As one fan was overheard saying, "We love you, Zeke, but that’s not happening."

The fan was correct, it wasn’t happening.

After one quarter, the Miami Heat led 28-23.

The Pistons cut it to a one-point lead four times in the second quarter before succumbing to the Heat and trailed 57-42 at the half.

"Came out normal, first quarter, took a pretty good shot from them but kept playing," Pistons interim coach John Loyer said. "I thought the first four to six minutes of the second quarter, we played like we practiced.

"From that point on, they punched us in the mouth and we never got back up. They changed the game with their energy to end the half and we didn’t have any energy in the second half."

It only got worse in the second half as the Heat led by as many as 35 points en route to a 110-78 loss for the Pistons, who fell to 26-46.

"They went from a one-two-point game to a six-point game and then a 15-point game at the half," Loyer said. "You can’t do that against a quality team like this. Then not to come out with any energy and play the way we’re capable of in the second half, just kind of is mind-boggling to me because we haven’t done that.

"I told our guys, for whatever games I’ve coached, 20-plus games, I thought every single night other than a stretch here or there, but every team has a stretch here or there, we laid it on the line. 

"(Friday night) we didn’t lay it on the line. To me, that’s embarrassing."

Losing to the two-time world champion Heat is not embarrassing in itself. 

But for a Pistons team whose mandate at the start of the season was to make the playoffs, this kind of effort can’t be tolerated.

"It’s just disheartening that we had a really good crowd out there like that and we couldn’t be able to compete better than what we did," Josh Smith said.

Kyle Singler, who had 11 points, said the Pistons have played out this script before.

"We didn’t compete the way we should have," Singler said. "It’s tough to go through a game like that. For the first half, I thought we came out and played well. Kind of the theme of our season so far is a decline as the game goes on. We just gotta figure out a way to get through that and start playing for the whole game."

The Bad Boys were all about toughness, both physical and mental. It appears the current Pistons lack that quality.

"It’s really frustrating," Singler said. "You don’t want to play basketball like that. To get beat like that, you don’t want that on no one. We go out playing to win each game but as the game goes on, we sometimes get down on ourselves but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We gotta keep playing through the tough times and just get through those tough stretches. If we do that, I think we’ll start playing better."

The Pistons haven’t had that edge since Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Corliss Williamson, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton were wearing the red, white and blue.

Until they find it again, there will be no beating the Heat.