Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
Thus far in 2012-13, Detroit is 23-46 and 8-25 on the road. Although they will be playing the role of an extreme underdog, the Pistons do own a victory over Miami in 2012-13.
They won 109-99 on Dec. 28, 2012.
As for Miami, it's currently 53-14 and 30-3 at home. The Heat are also in the midst of a 24-game winning streak.
Will they secure yet another W against Detroit?
Time: Friday, Mar. 22 at 7:30 p.m. EDT
TV: FxDT and SUN Sports
Records: Detroit Pistons (23-46, 8-25 road) at Miami Heat (53-14, 30-3 home)
Betting Line: N/A
Detroit Pistons Injury Report
Jose Calderon, Flu, Questionable
Andre Drummond, Non-Surgical Stress Fracture in Fifth Lumbar Vertebra, Doubtful
Brandon Knight, Sprained Left Ankle, Doubtful
Miami Heat Injury Report
Key Storyline: Preserving the Streak
The Miami Heat have won 24 consecutive games. They're nine games short of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' record streak of 33 straight victories.
Can they preserve the streak and extend it to 25 against the Detroit Pistons?
According to the numbers, the Heat will extend their streak. Not only are they the superior team in every significant statistic, but the Pistons have a streak of their own.
Nine consecutive losses.
Key Matchup: Chris Bosh vs. Greg Monroe
Chris Bosh is an eight-time All-Star. He's established a reputation as one of the best players in the world, regardless of whether he's playing power forward or the 5.
What better stage for Greg Monroe to step up and make his case for next year's All-Star Game?
In terms of the offensive end of the floor, Monroe is one of the game's top big men. He's averaging 15.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
Going up against Bosh, Monroe will need every bit of that production to give Detroit a W.
As for Bosh, he continues to produce on both ends of the floor. While Chris Andersen has become Miami's defensive anchor, Bosh is more than capable of slowing down Monroe.
How well he does just that could determine how close Detroit keeps this game.
X-Factor: Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons
To bestow the label of "underdogs" upon the Detroit Pistons would be understating just how much of an uphill battle this will be. In order to do the unthinkable and pull off an upset of the Heat, the Pistons will need to score the basketball.
That burden rests upon the shoulders of shooting guard Rodney Stuckey.
Over the span of his past five games, Stuckey is averaging 17.0 points per game on 50.0 percent shooting from the floor. With that being said, averages are often deceiving, and this is a perfect case of that.
Stuckey has scored seven, 10, 15, 22 and 30 points during that span—the Pistons will need something in between the latter two to win this game.
Stuckey will have a rough positional task going up against Dwyane Wade. If the 26-year-old Stuckey is truly a star, however, he'll relish this opportunity.
Can the former Eastern Washington star lead Detroit to an upset?
Who will win?
Despite the fact that the Miami Heat have been approaching records, they are not an invincible team. They've allowed games against inferior opponents to end closer than expected in the past, and this game could end in the same manner.
Just don't put your money on it.
Detroit has been devastated by injuries to key players, including point guard Jose Calderon, shooting guard Brandon Knight and center Andre Drummond. As a short-handed lottery team going up against the NBA's elite, the numbers speak for themselves.
Miami should win this game comfortably—key word, should.
Miami Heat 103, Detroit Pistons 94
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