Pistons reach 7th in East, top reeling Heat 119-96
Ish Smith scored 22 points off the bench, Langston Galloway added 15 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and the Detroit Pistons moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference by downing the Miami Heat 119-96 on Saturday night.
Blake Griffin had 20 points while Galloway and Luke Kennard each scored 17 for the Pistons (28-30), who are 1 1/2 games behind Brooklyn for the No. 6 spot. Reggie Jackson added 13 points and Andre Drummond had 12 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit, which started the fourth quarter on a 25-8 run to turn a fairly close game into a rout.
Galloway was the catalyst of all that, hitting four 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the final quarter. He had scored a total of 28 points in February before his dazzling fourth quarter spurt put the game away for the Pistons.
Josh Richardson scored 22 for Miami, which is 0-5 at home and 5-12 overall since Jan. 12. Dion Waiters scored 17, Dwyane Wade added 15 and Hassan Whiteside had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Heat (26-32), who fell to 10th in the East.
Miami got point guard Goran Dragic on the floor for the first time since Dec. 10, after a two-month rehab to recover from right knee surgery.
The rest of the Heat injury news was bad.
Miami was without Justise Winslow - who has been the starting point guard in Dragic's absence - because of a sore left knee, and James Johnson also missed the game while dealing with a sprained left shoulder. If that wasn't enough, the Heat then lost starting forward Rodney McGruder in the first half with a bruised right knee and said his status would be evaluated further on Sunday.
Dragic came off the bench and finished with four points in 16 minutes. Duncan Robinson, who didn't play in the first half, started in McGruder's spot to open the third quarter.
The Heat were up 29-18 late in the first quarter, after making 13 of their first 23 shots.
It turned quickly from there in Detroit's direction.
The Pistons outscored Miami 46-20 over the next 15 minutes, running out to a 64-49 lead while holding the Heat to 6-for-28 shooting over that span. Whiteside was 3 for 7 from the floor during that stretch, and his teammates were a combined 3 for 21.
Miami got within five later in the third, and was within eight to open the fourth. But Galloway's 3-pointer with 10:22 left capped Detroit's 7-0 spurt to open the final quarter, and the Pistons lead was back to 15 at 91-76.
Galloway added a four-point play about three minutes later, pushing Detroit's edge to 21. The Pistons would eventually lead by 26.
Pistons: Detroit, which went 6-10 in January, is 6-2 so far in February. ... The Pistons are exactly 28-30 after 58 games for the third consecutive year. They were 29-29 at this point in 2015-16. ... University of Miami coach Jim Larranaga and assistant Chris Caputo were at the game to watch Pistons rookie Bruce Brown, who played for the Hurricanes.
Heat: It was Miami's first home game in three weeks. Saturday started a run where the Heat play 10 times at home in a 12-game stretch. ... Miami was 7 for 28 from 3-point range, and its bench was outscored 66-35 by Detroit's reserves.
Former Heat guard Wayne Ellington, traded earlier this month to Phoenix and then waived to sign with Detroit, returned to Miami as an opponent for the first time since the moves. Ellington spent a good part of his pregame warmup greeting former teammates, coaches and Heat officials. The reunions continue Monday when the Heat play host to Phoenix - the new home for Tyler Johnson, who was also in the Ellington trade.
Detroit outscored Miami 34-17 in the second quarter - the biggest margin for the Pistons in a second quarter all season. It was the fifth time that Miami has been outscored by at least 15 points in that period this season.
Pistons: Host Indiana on Monday. Detroit lost to the Pacers 125-88 on Dec. 28.
Heat: Host Phoenix on Monday. The Heat are 16-1 since 2009 against the Suns.