Heat Check: LeBron shoulders workload with triple-double
Two nights after a bitter, physically demanding loss at Indiana, a depleted Miami Heat lineup flexed serious muscle at Detroit.
LeBron James produced his first triple-double of the season and the Heat opened up a 34-point lead as early as the third quarter en route to a 110-78 thrashing of the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
James had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in just 30 minutes for the Heat (49-22), who had six double-figure scorers.
On an evening the home team honored it’s 1989 "Bad Boys" NBA champions, the current champs dominated despite playing without Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Greg Oden (back), Mario Chalmers (thigh) and Ray Allen (stomach virus).
Guards Toney Douglas and James Jones joined James, Chris Bosh (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Udonis Haslem (17 points) as starters.
The second unit led by Chris "Birdman" Andersen and Norris Cole energized an attack that took control by outscoring Detroit 29-19 in the second quarter. Andersen finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds. Cole had 12 points and 7 assists.
The Heat had 31 assists on 43 field goals and shot 54.4 percent (43 of 79) while rebounding from their 84-83 loss to Eastern Conference rival Pacers on Wednesday night.
Indiana lost 91-78 at Washington on Friday night, so Miami moved to within two games (one in the loss column) behind the top-seeded Pacers.
The Pistons (26-46) hit just 3 of 24 from 3-point range.
The Heat led 57-42 at halftime. They committed just two turnovers and had 18 assists on 22 field goals during the first 24 minutes.
THE TURNING POINT
Miami closed the first half with an 11-0 run to take a 15-point lead at intermission. Detroit never threatened in the second half.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Cole and "Birdman" fueled Miami’s second-quarter surge that opened up things, but let’s face it, a triple-double trumps everything else.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Heat committed just nine turnovers, which resulted in 10 points.
The Heat will play the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center 8:30 p.m. Saturday.