Pistons vs. Heat: Streaking Pistons host champs

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After a convincing 92-75 win against the Bulls last night, the Heat come to town with both teams coming off the back-to-back games.

Game tips: 6 p.m. ET
Broadcast: Fox Sports Detroit / 97.1 The Ticket

Detroit has won four straight, including three straight road games. Know the last time the Pistons had a win streak that included three on the road? 2008.

There's a lot to like about Detroit Basketball right now. After last night's win against the Bulls, they've jumped up to 10th in the league in opponent's points per game and 12th in defensive rating, while also maintaining their middle-of-the-pack offense. As Sean mentioned last week, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's insertion into the starting lineup sparked a great turnaround on the defensive end.

The Situation

Not to take away from the strong play of the Pistons during their recent hot streak, but they've also gotten some lucky breaks with opposing teams' injury situations. It looks like that may continue. Dwayne Wade returned to the court in Minnesota to help with the Heat's blowout win, but he may be back on the sidelines tonight.

Unlike the Bulls' difficulties with Derrick Rose, the Heat haven't figured out how to cope with Wade's injuries. They've lost 2-3 without him this season.

The Pistons may have some injury problems of their own, as their Sixth Man of the Year candidate went down last night against the Bulls. No word if Rodney Stuckey will be available tonight. Chauncey Billups may be getting close to a return though, as he was able to practice Friday.

Keys to the Game

Bench: Stuckey has been the catalyst off the bench for most of the season, but he's been getting some help here lately, particularly from Kyle Singler and Josh Harrellson. They were the second and third leading scorers respectively last night and critical in helping the Pistons take control of the game.

Drumroe: Josh Smith continues his awful shooting, making the efficient scoring of the Pistons' young big men crucial - especially against an elite team like the Heat.

Caldwell-Pope: Coach Mo Cheeks has asked much of his 20 year old rookie shooting guard since inserting him in the starting lineup. With Stuckey hobbled, even more will be on his shoulders. He seems to be finding his groove, shooting 50 percent from the field over the past five games including 42 percent from three.

Question of the Game

Josh Smith shot 18 percent from the field yesterday. How long can Cheeks continue to afford putting off a change in Smith's role?

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