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GAME PREVIEW: Heat host Pistons looking to gain ground in East

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The Miami Heat could close much of the gap between them and the middle of the East playoff race with a win.

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat hope to make another dent into their push into the thick of the Easter Conference as they host the Detroit Pistons. At 20-15, the Pistons are sitting at 4th in the East, but at 19-17, Miami is only 1.5 GB on the Pistons. The Heat could really make some headway with a win here.

But, Miami has been so inconsistent lately. They have shown no reliability to take momentum from game to game. They beat the Celtics in Boston then turn around a few days later and lose by 20+ to the Brooklyn Nets. Miami beat Orlando on Saturday.

The Pistons will be without Reggie Jackson, their starting point guard. But the Heat are also shorthanded missing Dion Waiters and likely James Johnson.

Game Info

When: Wednesday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
TV: Fox Sports Sun, NBALP
Win Probabilities: Miami has a 60% chance of winning, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Probable Starters

Detroit: Ish Smith, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Anthony Tolliver, Andre Drummond
Miami: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside

Injury Report

Pistons: Reggie Jackson (Out, ankle), Stanley Johnson (Out, hip), Avery Bradley (probable, groin)
Heat: Rodney McGruder (Out, Leg Fracture), Okaro White (Out, Foot), Justise Winslow (Out, knee), James Johnson (game-time decision, ankle), Dion Waiters (Out, ankle)

What To Watch For

Can Whiteside deal with Drummond?

That’s one big guy that Hassan Whiteside has really struggled to out-perform when they go head-to-head. Drummond is a similar player, big and likes to play inside, a rebounding machine. Whiteside has often found himself losing the rebounding battle to Drummond. Miami will need Whiteside to equalize Drummond to give them a good chance to win.

Which team will show up for Miami?

Every time the bull is ready to be grabbed by the horns, it seems the Heat run the other way. Can we get a hungry team ready to play or will we get the Heat team that takes a quarter off and it costs them the game?

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