LeBron James, Michael Beasley not enough for Heat
MIAMI (AP) — It was just a game, not a playoff series. Still, Brandon Jennings finally got a long-awaited win over the Miami Heat.
And he made the two biggest plays to get it done.
Jennings made a deep, well-covered 3-pointer to snuff out one Miami rally with 4:09 left, then stole the ball from LeBron James to set up another score two minutes later, and the Detroit Pistons beat the Heat 107-97 on Tuesday night to snap the NBA champions’ 10-game winning streak.
Kyle Singler scored 18 points to lead seven Detroit players in double figures, Andre Drummond had 18 rebounds — more than any three Heat players combined — and Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey each scored 16 for the Pistons.
“We had a lot of good performances from a lot of people,” Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. “Then we just held our composure because we knew that at some point they’d make a run. Brandon made that big 3 and we were able to hold on. When Brandon hit that big 3, it kind of settled us down a little bit.”
It might have of deflated the Heat, too.
Miami trailed by as many as 18 and then got within three on a dunk by James midway through the fourth. The Heat then missed their next three shots, two of them 3-point tries that would have knotted the game, before Jennings connected from 26 feet out — “the dagger from 90 feet,” James said afterward — to put Detroit up by six.
“Just the way the game goes,” said Heat guard Norris Cole, who was defending Jennings on the play. “He made a big shot. Just got to tip your hat.”
The Heat never got any closer. They nearly did, being down seven and with James charging downcourt with about two minutes left, but Jennings stole the ball away, brought it to the other end and set up Monroe for an easy bucket that sealed the deal for Detroit.
And for Jennings — who predicted his Milwaukee Bucks would oust the Heat in six games when they met in the opening round of last season’s playoffs, then got swept — it was a small measure of comeuppance.
“They didn’t make shots down the stretch that they usually do,” said Jennings, who’s in his first season with the Pistons. “We’re still getting better and better. But we can’t have a stretch like in the fourth, with a lead, that we couldn’t get a bucket.”
James and Michael Beasley each scored 23 for Miami. The Heat played without guard Dwyane Wade, the All-Star sitting for the fourth time this season to rest a sore knee.
Miami shot a season-low 44 percent.
“It’s a miss or make league at times,” James said. “They made. We missed.”
Jennings and Josh Smith each scored 15 for Detroit, which got 10 points apiece from Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Chris Bosh scored 14 and Ray Allen added 12 for Miami, which was outrebounded 46-34.
The Heat had more turnovers (eight) than field goals (seven) in the first period, missed 12 of their first 16 shots and found themselves down by 11 points before the game was 11 minutes old. And it wasn’t like the Pistons were all that hot, either — they shot 48 percent in the quarter.
When the second quarter started, the Pistons were sizzling.
Drummond had four points in an 8-0 spurt to start the second, one that gave Detroit an 18-point lead with 9:30 left in the half.
With that, the Pistons became just the second opposing team in the last 83 Miami home games, including playoffs, to lead by that many on the Heat’s home floor.
And that was just one of many instances where the Heat were left shaking their collective heads. James had 14 points in the second quarter, one of the very few reasons why it wasn’t a total Detroit runaway by the break.
“It was really tough to get a flow,” Bosh said. “We kept turning the ball over, we didn’t have the necessary energy we needed tonight and we got beat.”
NOTES: Reserve guard Roger Mason Jr. was active for the Heat, two nights after Miami police said he was a robbery victim. Police said two men brandishing pistols went into a restaurant where Mason Jr. was dining, ordered everyone on the floor and one of the items they stole was a Rolex watch from the NBA veteran. The watch was recovered Monday and police have arrested two men while still looking for two other suspects. … The 10-game winning streak was the sixth-longest in Heat history. … The Pistons came in averaging a league-best 51.2 points in the paint, and had 60 on Tuesday.