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HHH GameTime Preview: Miami HEAT Vs. Detroit Pistons

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Another opportunity to start over and string together some consistent play begins tonight with a road game against the disappointing Pistons.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Following Wednesday's emotional loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat (48-22) look to find their groove as they travel to Detroit to face the Pistons (26-45).

The Heat are currently in the middle of their worst stretch during the Big 3 era, having lost 8 of their last 13 games.  Frustrations seemingly boiled over after last week's loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, and while the Heat have played better in their two games since then, it's clear that they still aren't back to their old ways.

The Heat are 2-1 against the Pistons this season, including a victory in Detroit.  Miami's lone loss to the Pistons this season came without Dwyane Wade, who is probable for tonight's game after leaving Wednesday's match with an apparent hamstring injury.

Detroit enters Friday's game losers of 13 of their last 16 games.  After making noise this offseason by signing Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, the talent has never really meshed for the Pistons, as they currently sit 11th in the East and 5 games out of the playoffs.

The key for Detroit will be hitting their outside shots, something they aren't particularly good at.  In their win against Miami earlier this season, they shot 51% from the field, and more importantly, 44% from deep.  In their two losses since then, they shot 35% and 33%.  They have a clear advantage inside, as they've outrebounded the Heat a combined 140 to 112 in three games, but they have to convert that advantage in to baskets, which is something they've struggled with.

For the Heat, this game will be a lot about finding their defensive identity.  While they will struggle on the offensive glass, they need to make sure their rotations are crisp so as to not allow the combination of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond to get easy baskets inside.  Miami is at their best defensively when they are being aggressive on pick and rolls and forcing opposing bigs to catch the ball away from the basket as opposed to on the roll.  Brandon Jennings isn't the best point guard in the league, but he is a more than capable passer.  Miami will need to make it difficult for him to get the ball to his bigs.

Ray Allen is OUT tonight for the Heat with the flu.  Everybody else is expected to be available.  The game tips off at 7:30 PM Eastern and can be seen on Sun Sports.