Miami Sports Day

NBA: Jackson, Drummond Burn Heat in Pistons’ Win

MIAMI — Reggie Jackson continues to progress from the injury that sidelined him for the first quarter of the season.

On Sunday night, the Detroit Pistons’ point guard, who missed the team’s first 21 games because of a knee injury, had his best scoring performances since his return. Jackson scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Pistons past the Miami Heat 107-98.

“I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt so far this season,” Jackson said. “With the coaches and training staff, everybody’s monitoring my workload, helping me to be as ready as possible.”

Jackson shot 10-of-17 from the field and was perfect on his five free throw attempts to help Detroit overcome a hot shooting start from the injury depleted Heat.

The Pistons (16-20) trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and took their first lead at 75-73 on Kentavious Caldwell Pope’s jumper with 4:01 remaining in the third period to cap an 11-0 run. Caldwell Pope finished with 23 points, including 15 in the second half.

“I was just being aggressive, taking advantage of what the defense gives me,” Caldwell Pope said.

Detroit extended its lead after a second 11-0 surge during the final minute of the third and first three minutes of the fourth. Andre Drummond’s hook shot with 9:42 remaining in the fourth capped the run and gave the Pistons their first double-digit lead at 91-81.

Drummond scored 25 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Tobias Harris finished with 17 points for the Pistons.

“I thought we played a lot harder in the second half,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We made some minor adjustments but our guys just locked in. And they’re down a little bit so, fatigue and everything else so all of those things came together for us.”

Playing without injured starters Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow, Miami (10-25) shot 65 percent from the field in the first half and 10-of-15 3-pointers but was held scoreless the first 5:07 of the fourth quarter. The Heat finished with 32 points in the second half.

“I think, to be fair, we probably ran out of gas a little bit,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the Heat’s second half performance. “Not as an excuse, we played guys big minutes.

“We were getting some of the same looks but weren’t able to knock those down that we were in the first half. I told the guys there’s nothing to be ashamed of with this game. We just got outplayed down the stretch.”

James Johnson’s 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining brought Miami within 100-94 before Jackson’s two free throws and Harris’ technical free throw with 2:30 left increased the Pistons’ advantage.

Johnson scored 20 points and Wayne Ellington finished with 18 points for the Heat, who lost their fifth straight
The Heat shot a season-best 68 percent from the field in the first period while taking a 37-33 lead. Miami converted its first eight shots and led 32-19 before the Pistons ended the quarter on a 14-5 run.

“Shots were going in; our offense was flowing,” Johnson said. “The ball was hopping. No matter how well we are shooting, no matter how well our offense is clicking, we have to remember who we are and that’s locking teams up and playing for 24 seconds of a shot clock.”

Pistons reserve forward-center Aron Baynes injured his left ankle in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. Baynes underwent X-rays and the results were negative, according to a Pistons spokesman.

GAME NOTES: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra agreed to a contract extension, the team confirmed. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Spoelstra, whose current contract was set to expire at the end of the season, is the league’s second longest tenured coach behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich. … Spoelstra said the option of C Hassan Whiteside using goggles and playing Sunday was too soon because Whiteside’s right eye is still sensitive from the poke he received in Friday’s game against Boston. Whiteside missed his first game of the season against Detroit. … F Marcus Morris returned to the Pistons starting lineup Sunday. Morris sat out Friday’s game against Atlanta because of a sore left knee. … The Pistons will return home for a brief two-game home stand against Indiana and Charlotte on Jan. 3 and 5 before their second four-game trip to Western Conference teams beginning Jan. 7. Detroit will play at Portland, Sacramento, Golden State and Utah. In their previous four-game road set Nov. 7-12, the Pistons lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix and San Antonio and ended the trip with a win at Denver

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