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GAME PREVIEW: Miami Heat (29-23) face the Detroit Pistons (24-26) on second night of a back-to-back set

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The Heat conclude their four-game road trip versus the Pistons with All-Star Andre Drummond and newly acquired Blake Griffin. 

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (29-23) face the Detroit Pistons (24-26) for third time this season after splitting their first two contests. Each won their game at home: the Pistons in Detroit by a 112-103 score, and the Heat coming out on top by 111-104 in Miami. This time around Detroit will send their new frontcourt duo of Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin against Miami.

Game Information

When: Monday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Sun

Radio: WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Win probability: ESPN predictor has Miami as underdogs with a 37% chance to win.

Probable Starters

HEAT: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Bam Adebayo

PISTONS: Ish Smith, Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond

Injury Report

HEAT: Rodney McGruder (out, tibia surgery), Okaro White (out, foot surgery), Dion Waiters (out, ankle sprain), Hassan Whiteside (out, illness), Udonis Haslem (day-to-day, personal)

PISTONS: Reggie Jackson (out, ankle), Jon Leuer (out, ankle)

Scouting Report

In their last 10 games Miami is 4-6 and Detroit 2-8. The Heat is 16-13 on the road, and Detroit 15-10 at home. Miami has winning record, 23-10, against Eastern Conference teams, while Detroit has a losing one, 14-18.

Dragic leads the Heat in points per game (16.9) and assists (4.7), Whiteside in rebounds (11.7) and blocks (1.8), Richardson in steals (1.3). Griffin leads the Pistons in points (22.6) and assists (5.4), Drummond in rebounds (15.3), steals (1.3) and blocks (1.4).

After an attention-getting seven game winning streak, the Heat lost games to the lottery-bound Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, and Sacramento Kings, as teams realized Miami’s focus on defense has lead to the Heat’s indifferent effort on offense.

Lately even some of the NBA’s worst defensive teams managed to win four of six games against Miami as the Heat performed as if scoring 90 points a game is a viable long-term winning strategy in the NBA.

In last 6 games, the 2-4 Heat were next-to-last in OffRtg, 91.8, topping only the 1-5 Phoenix Suns, 90.5, and trailing the punch-less 1-5 Dallas Mavericks, 1-5 Chicago Bulls, and 1-5 Atlanta Hawks.

As a recent member of that lottery group of five, the Heat joined them in bottom five NetRtg, Assist/Turnover Ratio, Assist Ratio, Turnover %, Effective and True Shooting %, Points Scored, 3-point FG% (last in NBA).

No one player can drag down a team for six games, so throwing any single player under the bus only makes the other fourteen players and coaching staff look cowardly.

Heat fans will see whether the team, as a whole, is smart enough to break out of their recent lottery-team level performances and defeat the Detroit Pistons on the road.

From the Detroit Bad Boys Blog,

“Detroit will have to play better when Blake Griffin is not on the floor to match Miami’s depth. In Griffin’s first game, he was an impact player for the Pistons, with a plus/minus of +23 in his 35 minutes. The Pistons, however, won the game by only two points - and needed every drop of Blake’s playmaking ability to do so.”