© Steve Mitchell | 2019 Mar 13

Heat Rout Pistons at Home; Continue Playoff Push

Alex Solana
March 14, 2019 - 3:58 pm

The Miami Heat entered Wednesday night's matchup against Detroit three games back of the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. Today, they sit just two games back after a 108-74 blowout win at the American Airlines Arena. 

A 21-0 Heat run to begin the second half was the highlight of the night for Miami, who have now won six of their last eight games. The Heat's big third quarter run not only exhibited an excellent offensive performance from Miami, but also a seven minute defensive run that did not allow a single point by the Pistons until 5:27 left in the quarter when Blake Griffin made two free throws. The eight points scored by Detroit tied the lowest-scoring quarter by a Heat opponent this year. 

The Heat's largest win of the season not only helped split the season series with Detroit, it showed Erik Spoelstra's team is not satisfied with the 8th seed in the East. 

"That was very inspiring basketball," Spoelstra said. "You're not expecting to have that kind of result." 

Even Udonis Haslem was able to get in on the action. "We Want Haslem" chants poured into the American Airlines Arena in the 4th quarter and Spoelstra gave the crowd what they wanted. Haslem entered the game with 6:30 left in the 4th quarter, matching up with Zaza Pachulia which seemed scripted given their past, and nailed a vintage UD baseline jumper. Haslem finished with two points and three rebounds on the night.  

While Miami did pick up a big win over a team that sits in front of them in the standings, it seems a tie breaker would likely be headed in Detroits favor due to conference records. The win, however, was essential as Miami prepares for a tough upcoming stretch, including two versus Milwaukee, Charlotte (who sit two games back of Miami), San Antonio and Oklahoma City all in the next week. 

If the playoffs were to begin today, it would be Miami facing off against the team with the NBA's best record, Milwaukee. Toronto sits in the two seed and Philadelphia has jumped over Indiana into the three seed. Miami has a 1-6 record this season against the three opponents who are looking to be the most likely post season matchups should Miami make the playoffs. It would be difficult to overlook how Miami struggled versus Philadelphia last post season when they lost in 5. All three teams at the top of the East, including Philadelphia, appear to have improved rosters and look to be stronger tests for a Heat team who has not gotten to the 2nd round of the post season since 2016.