Jimmy Butler had a season-high 13 assists to go with 20 points as the short-handed Miami Heat defeated the road-weary Detroit Pistons 117-108 on Tuesday night.
Heat center Bam Adebayo also had a double-double — 18 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. Heat guard Kendrick Nunn also played well with 20 points as Miami used a 17-0 second-quarter run to improve to 4-0 at home this season.
Detroit, 1-5 on the road, was led by Luke Kennard, who had a game-high 22 points, all in the second half. He missed all seven of his first-half shots and shot 8-of-11 after the break.
Both teams faced adversity in merely lining up for the game. Detroit played a home game on Monday and, after a two-hour, blizzard-induced flight delay, finally arrived in Miami at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
In addition, the Pistons rested star forward Blake Griffin and starting point guard Derrick Rose, both of whom returned from injuries on Monday.
The Pistons are still without lead guard Reggie Jackson, who is weeks away from returning from a back injury.
Miami’s long injury list starts with standout point forward Justise Winslow (concussion) and first-round pick Tyler Herro (left ankle).
The Heat also sat power forward James Johnson (illness), wing Derrick Jones (left hip), rookie forward KZ Okpala (left foot) and shooting guard Dion Waiters (suspended for conduct detrimental to the team).
With those issues, the Heat had just 10 available players, including two on loan from their development team: forward Chris Silva (eight points) and guard Daryl Macon (three points).
Miami also played post Kelly Olynyk despite a sore left knee. Olynyk contributed 13 points.
Still, the bruised and battered Heat raced to a 14-2 lead before settling for a 28-17 advantage after the first quarter. The Heat shot 66.7 percent in the first quarter while holding Detroit to 31.8 percent.
Miami led by as many as 29 points in the second quarter and took a 59-37 advantage into the break.
Detroit cut its deficit to 13 points, but Miami rallied again, closing the third quarter with a 92-72 lead.
The fourth quarter featured more of the same ebb and flow. Detroit cut its deficit to just nine points at 99-90 with 6:05 left, but the Heat held off the Pistons for the win.
—Field Level Media