Game #79: Detroit Pistons (25-53) vs. Miami Heat (44-34)

Heading into tonight's home game against Detroit, the Heat is on some kind of awesome stretch.  A win over the Pistons would push Miami's current win streak to 10 games and push them to 11 games over .500.  The Heat haven't had a run like this since their championship season; they won 10-straight games between February 12th-March 8th.   (For you die hards...that win streak began right after the Heat got their ass kicked by Dallas.  The next day, Miami was down big at home to Detroit when D-Wade took over, closing the game with 17 consecutive points, a team record)

That was also the last time (before now, of course) that the Heat had been 10 games over .500.  I wish I could tell you what clicked for this team that has them playing so well, but the bottom line is that they are playing like a team that knows how to win games.  Even during this streak when games looked lost, Miami dug deep and played well enough to get W's. 

Leading the way for Miami has been their co-captains, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem.  These two have been teammates since they were rookies together back in 2003-04, and are now leading the franchise in a way that would make Pat Riley proud.  Udonis is coming off of an awesome month of March where he averaged 9.6 points and 10.1 rebounds, but he didn't stop there.  So far in April (3 games), Udonis is averaging 11.0 points and 13.0 boards.

Wade has been equally good, scoring at least 22 points in 5 of his last 6 games.  In those games he is averaging 29.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks while hitting on 79.0% of his free throws and 5-of-14 from beyond the arc.  That right there is some well-rounded awesomeness from D-Wade, who knows as well as anyone that the Heat is peaking at just the right time.  Said Wade:

"It didn't come early in the year, but it came now.  And this is the right time for this team, going into the postseason.  We're going to be a team that's going to be reckoned with for seven games,"

Taking a look at the Pistons, they are making an attempt to finish a very rough season on a strong note.  When the Heat won in Detroit last week, the Pistons were in the midst of an 11-game losing streak.  They have since snapped it, winning their last two games; at Philly on Tuesday and a big home win against Atlanta on Wednesday. 

A quick non-game related Heat note...they signed guard Kenny Hasbrouck for the remainder of this season and hold a team option for 2010-11.  Hasbrouck had signed a pair of 10-game contracts with Miami this season, and he will now get paid the veterans minimum for the rest of this season.  He has yet to dress a game for Miami, but obviously they see something in him and plan to work him this summer in their developmental program. 

GAME NOTES

  • Udonis Haslem leads the Heat with 19 double doubles this season.  He's recorded 4 in his last 6 games. 
  • Quentin Richardson grabbed a career high 4 steals in his last game. 
  • For Detroit, center Ben Wallace (knees), forwards Chris Wilcox (hamstring), Jason Maxiell (back) and Tayshaun Prince (personal) and guards Rodney Stuckey (rib) and Richard Hamilton (ankle) are all listed as questionable. 
  • Miami's 9-game win streak is the longest current streak in the NBA.  They have won 15 of their last 18. 
  • In the standings, Miami is tied with Milwaukee but sits in 6th due to the Bucks holding the tiebreaker.  Boston and Atlanta are also tied, and Boston holds the tiebreaker between them.
  • Standings relevant games tonight include MIL @ PHI, TOR @ ATL, WAS @ BOS and CHA @ HOU. 

Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30.  This is the 2nd to last home game of the regular season for Miami.  After this, they have their final two road games on Sunday and Monday in New York and Philly, then they return home for game #82 on Wednesday against New Jersey.  Playoff tickets go on sale on Friday the 16th.

Guys...I don't know what's going on but as of 2am (the half-way point), the Miami Heat Dancers are losing to the ‘Lady Cats' of the Charlotte Bobcats 41% to 59%.  Take some time and keep voting!  I would hate for tomorrow's Dancer of the Day post to be the last one....

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