Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Sports Gaming Monitor

NBA Preview: Miami Heat (35-30) at Detroit Pistons (12-53)

The Miami Heat fought their way out of the play-in tournament and reached the NBA Finals last season. They would like to avoid that extra step this spring, which is why their weekend visit to Detroit could prove pivotal.

The Heat will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak when they face the Pistons on Friday and will remain in the Motor City for a Sunday afternoon tilt.

The Heat (35-30) are currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings and need to finish in the top six to avoid the play-in tournament.

In their latest defeat, the Heat trailed the red-hot Denver Nuggets by a point entering the fourth quarter and were outscored 28-17 over the final 12 minutes in the 100-88 loss.

Miami shot 42.5 percent from the field in the latest meeting and only knocked down five 3-pointers in 21 attempts. The Heat are 2-12 when failing to reach the 100-point mark.

Miami has won its first two meetings with Detroit this season. The Heat eked out a 103-102 season-opening victory in October. The second meeting came earlier this month, when they posted a 118-110 triumph on March 5 as Jimmy Butler had 26 points and eight assists.

During the current losing streak, Butler has been held to 18.0 points per game with only two made 3-pointers in 11 attempts.

The Heat are not expected to have Tyler Herro available this weekend. He’s been sidelined the past nine games due to a foot injury.

The Pistons (12-53) will be seeking their first three-game winning streak this season. They defeated the Charlotte Hornets 114-97 on Monday, then topped Toronto 113-104 on Wednesday. They are 3-1 during a six-game homestand.

The Pistons’ Jalen Duren had 24 points and a career-high 23 rebounds against the Raptors, recording his third 20-20 game of the season.

In a rough season, Detroit no longer occupies the Eastern Conference cellar. The Pistons have passed the Washington Wizards in the standings, at least for now.

Detroit star guard Cade Cunningham didn’t play in the fourth quarter against the Raptors. Head coach Monty Williams had Cunningham ready to enter the game late but chose to let backup Marcus Sasser close out the victory.

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