NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 28th
(All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (48-22) at Detroit Pistons (26-45), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat failed in a bid to make up ground in the
Eastern Conference with a recent loss and look to take their frustrations out
on the Detroit Pistons Friday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Heat dropped an 84-83 decision to the Indiana Pacers Wednesday in what
could be described as an early playoff game. Tempers flared at times and the
Pacers were able to squeeze out a win to regain a three-game lead over Miami
at the top of the conference standings.
Evan Turner and David West made big shots at the end to lift the Pacers, while
Heat center Chris Bosh missed on a desperation shot. Earlier, Bosh knocked
down a 3-pointer to pull the Heat within a point. LeBron James gave up the
ball to Bosh and scored a game-high 38 points.
"We didn't execute down the stretch," said Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who ended
with 15 points. "That hurt us."
Bosh had eight points for Miami, which clinched the Southeast Division with
Washington's 99-93 loss to Phoenix and has alternated results in the last six
games and fell to 5-8 since March 4.
The Heat, who have won four straight Southeast titles, are winless in three
straight and six of the last seven road games and sport a 20-16 record away
from South Beach. They will close a three-game journey Saturday at Milwaukee.
Heat veteran sharpshooter Ray Allen missed the Indiana game due to the flu and
is questionable Friday. Wade is also questionable with a leg cramp. Wade said
after the Pacers loss he felt cramps and spasms in the leg.
Detroit has a tough challenge ahead with Miami in town and dropped a 97-96
decision to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. Cavs reserve-turned-starter
Dion Waiters knocked down the game-winning shot as time expired, sending the
Pistons to their ninth loss in 11 tries.
The Pistons, who used a 17-1 run early on for a 21-7 advantage, had a 96-87
lead late in the game, but the Cavaliers stormed back and prevented the hosts
from getting back in front.
"(It) was a screwy situation," said Detroit guard Kyle Singler, who scored 18
points. "We played well enough to win. We should have won, but the ball just
didn't bounce our way."
Josh Smith had a game-high 24 points and Brandon Jennings finished with 17 and
13 assists for the Pistons, who were coming off a win at Utah that snapped a
13-game road losing streak. Greg Monroe scored 14 points and fellow big man
Andre Drummond was limited to six points and 11 rebounds.
The Pistons have held their opponent under 100 points in two straight and
three of the last four games. They are allowing 103.7 points per game and
Miami is averaging 103.1 ppg. The Heat, though, have failed to score 100 or
more points in five straight games.
Detroit is 15-22 at The Palace this season and will try to attack Miami with
its inside game. The Pistons are first in points in the paint (52.4) and
offensive rebounds per game (14.3).
Miami is 2-1 against Detroit this season and recorded a 110-95 victory at The
Palace on Dec. 8. The Heat have won 16 of the last 19 games in this series and
are 8-1 in the past nine games at the Pistons.
James is averaging 23.7 points against the Pistons this season, while
Jennings is averaging 20.0 ppg in the 2013-14 series.
03/28 10:30:40 ET