The Miami Heat will look to build on their 3-0 home record when they play host to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
Miami hasn’t played since a 95-80 road defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Detroit, which is 1-4 on the road, will be playing on shorter rest after a 120-114 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.
The Pistons got two of their bigger names back from the injured list on Monday: power forward Blake Griffin (hamstring and knee) and point guard Derrick Rose (hamstring).
Griffin, who made his 2019-20 debut, started and played 24 minutes. He had 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four turnovers. He made 6 of 12 shots from the floor, including 1 of 3 on 3-point attempts, and 6 of 8 from the foul line.
Rose, who had missed four consecutive games, had six points, five assists, three rebounds, two steals, one block and no turnovers in 20 minutes. But he made just 3 of 13 shots from the floor, including 0 of 2 from 3-point range.
The Pistons had not yet announced if Griffin and Rose would be held out Tuesday, or if they will play even less on the tail end of back-to-back games. The team did not arrive in Miami until after 5 a.m. after a slowed departure in Detroit due to snow and ice conditions.
Griffin, though, doesn’t like the proverbial kid-glove approach.
“I’m being forced to being eased into it,” Griffin said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I don’t know what to expect. I have an open mind. But I don’t know if I’ve ever been on this type of minutes restriction before.”
Meanwhile, the Heat are off to a good start at 6-3 despite a Dion Waiters controversy that has lingered all season.
Waiters, a veteran shooting guard, was suspended for the season opener after he voiced displeasure over his reduced role in the exhibition finale, apparently feeling the threat represented by rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.
On Sunday, Waiters was suspended for a second time this season — this time for 10 games — after he reportedly experienced a panic attack on the team flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles.
Waiters, who has yet to play this season, reportedly consumed a THC-laced edible and had a bad reaction on the flight.
“We are very disappointed in Dion’s actions this season that include (that) very scary situation (on the flight),” the Heat said in a statement. “We’re grateful the outcome wasn’t worse.
“There have been a number of instances this season in which Dion has engaged in conduct detrimental to the team.”
Nunn and Herro — as Waiters apparently feared — have stepped up this season. Nunn is third on the team with a 16.6-point scoring average. Herro is fifth with a 13.1 scoring average.
Besides the rookies, Miami has been led by veterans Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic.
Butler, Miami’s biggest offseason acquisition, leads the team in scoring (19.3 per game), assists (5.5) and steals (2.8). Adebayo is averaging 12.8 points while leading the team in rebounds (9.3) and blocks (1.6). Dragic, a former All-Star point guard now playing as a reserve for the first time since the 2011-12 season, is averaging 16.7 points and 4.8 assists.
Heat starting forward Justise Winslow has missed four of the past five games initially due to back stiffness but more recently because of a concussion. He won’t play Tuesday.
Miami backup forward Derrick Jones Jr. will be sidelined for the sixth time in eight games. He is currently dealing with a hip injury.
Detroit’s injured list still includes starting point guard Reggie Jackson, who is weeks away from returning from a back injury. Shooting guard Tim Frazier, who sat out four games due to a shoulder issue, returned to play 10 scoreless minutes Monday.
–Field Level Media