Heat, Pistons won't let bad game derail playoff drive
The Detroit Pistons hit a roadblock in Brooklyn. They'll try to prevent their playoff push from going completely off track in Miami.
The Nets emphatically snapped Detroit's five-game winning streak 103-75 on Monday night, and the blowout delivered a dose of reality, according to Pistons coach Dwane Casey. Now, they'll try to bounce back when they face the Heat on Wednesday.
Both teams are in playoff position in the Eastern Conference standings but holding on to the final two spots.
"If we're serious about making the playoffs, we have to come out and not believe all the hype and all the stuff," he said. "We didn't come out and play. I didn't coach physical enough or whatever. We didn't play physical enough. We took a full step back."
The Pistons were on an offensive roll until they got to New York. The Pistons shot a season-worst 27.8 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from 3-point range. They trailed by as much as 31 points and got outscored by 30 points in the paint.
"They just played harder than us," reserve guard Langston Galloway said. "You can't say anything other than that it's just our fault. We have to come out, know that they're fighting for a playoff position just like we are, and we have to bring it every single night."
The Pistons had scored 129 or more points in three games during their winning streak, including 131 on Sunday while defeating Chicago for the second time in three days.
All-Star Blake Griffin said he believes Monday's poor outing was just a blip on the radar screen.
"We've played too good of basketball for a while now to let one game affect us," he said. "We have to shake this off and get ready to play in Miami because it's going to be the same thing."
Detroit can clinch the season series with Miami. The Pistons hold a 2-1 lead, and this will be the final regular-season matchup.
The Heat enter the game in similar fashion. They were riding a four-game winning streak until Toronto, playing without star Kawhi Leonard, hit them with a 3-point barrage. The Raptors made a franchise-record 21 3-pointers to blitz the Heat 125-104 on Sunday.
"This is one of the top teams in the East for a reason, even without Kawhi," Heat swingman Justise Winslow told the Miami Herald. "They're super solid defensively. Kyle (Lowry) does a great job of leading that team and getting exactly what he wants out of every possession from his guys. Hats off to them. They beat us fair and square."
Veteran guard Dwyane Wade said he's tracking the standings regularly to see where his team stands.
"You've got to be looking now. It's that time of the year now," Wade told the Herald. "I'll be checking it out. I'm sure other guys have. You just want to see from game to game, if we lost ground or we're gaining ground and where you're at. You want to have your eyes on it. I think it's important."
The Heat haven't done a good job of protecting their home court this season. They're just 15-19 at AmericanAirlines Arena, including a 119-96 loss to Detroit on Feb. 23.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 12, 2019