Rookie Luke Kennard sparks Detroit Pistons to home victory over Miami Heat
By CHRIS NELSEN
DETROIT — Detroit Pistons rookie Luke Kennard took advantage of his opportunity to play clutch minutes for coach Stan Van Gundy.
Kennard finished with 14 points off the bench, shooting 6 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range, helping the Pistons to a 112-103 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday.
At 10-3, Detroit is second in the Eastern Conference and off to its best start since going 15-3 in 2005-06. The Pistons swept a five-game homestand.
“We really stayed poised,” said Kennard, who has been in and out of the rotation this season. “We stayed together, stayed connected and guys made plays all around the court. Everybody made an impact.”
Tobias Harris had 25 points, Avery Bradley scored 24, Reggie Jackson had 17 points and Andre Drummond added eight points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons. Detroit used a 10-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to pull away.
“Our guys got down in the second half and just kept playing, kept fighting,” Van Gundy said. “I was really proud of our guys.”
Hassan Whiteside had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Dion Waiters added 16 points and five assists for Miami.
“We were not able to dictate and impose our style on this game, pretty much all across the board,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You have to credit them, they flattened us out.”
The Pistons led 58-55 at halftime and 83-81 entering the final quarter. They opened a 91-86 edge after Kennard’s jumper. Later, after a 6-0 run got Miami to 93-92, Kennard hit consecutive shots — a runner and a 3-pointer — to make it 98-92 with 7 minutes left.