They played without nametags, which might have been a mistake, considering they looked like imperfect strangers.
For the Miami Heat, order has yet to be established this season, including Saturday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, where they fell, 120-100, to the Detroit Pistons, an opponent that entered 2-9.
While six players were back after nearly a week away due to pandemic protocols, three key components were out. Amid yet another reshuffle, the Heat loaded up on turnovers and lost their way on defense in the first of consecutive home games against the Pistons.
Back for the Heat were Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Moe Harkless, Udonis Haslem, Kendrick Nunn and KZ Okpala, after apparent contact tracing kept them away.
Still out due to pandemic protocols for the Heat were Avery Bradley and Jimmy Butler, who also left the team Monday. In addition the Heat also were without guard Tyler Herro, due to neck spasms.
Against that backdrop, and with reserve center Meyers Leonard missing a third consecutive game due to a shoulder strain, the Heat crumbled in a 38-19 third quarter on the way to dropping to 4-7.
After consecutive road losses to the Philadelphia 76ers with the NBA minimum of eight players available, the Heat this time seemingly had the luxury of 13.
No matter, with cohesion and continuity lacking.
Adebayo closed with a season-high 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who also will host the Pistons at 1 p.m. Monday in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee. The Heat also got 22 points from Duncan Robinson, 16 from KZ Okpala and 12 points and nine assists from Goran Dragic.
The Pistons got 24 points from Jerami Grant, 23 from Derrick Rose and 15 from Blake Griffin.