Eddy Curry and the Miami Heat visit the Pistons tonight for a half-time T-Pain concert. There might also be some basketball before and after the show, although calling it "basketball" is kind of a stretch. Stay auto-tuned, Pistons fans, tonight's gonna be awesome!!
Game Tips at 7:30 P.M. EST
Miami Heat: 12 - 5 (5 - 3 road)
Detroit Pistons: 4 - 14 (3 - 6 home)
The Miami Heat are still not playing like a championship team. Nearly a season-and-a-half into the South Beach Talents experiment, the Heat are still facing the same old problems. Beyond Lebron, Dwyane and Chris, who is going to stand up for this team in the frontcourt? The Heat are getting good production out of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole at the point, and Udonis Haslem is a solid backup behind Bosh. But the Heat are relying on Joel Anthony (who is receiving a lot more All Star votes than Greg Monroe!!) and Eddy Curry to hold down the pivot. On the wings, Shane Battier, Mike Miller and James Jones are just not producing, despite rotating to fill in for the missing Dwyane Wade. In total, it's a three man show in Miami, and beyond some decent options at the point, they've got a gaping hole at center and a bench that isn't getting the job done.
Oh, but they'll still steamroll the hell out of the Pistons tonight. Not sure if there is even a point in discussing that part. I'd much rather talk about the fun part here-- that Miami does not appear to have a championship recipe despite having some of the league's most talented players and Bosh. What's more, the only real way to build a sure-thing contender out of this crew is to trade one of the big three. Who knows, they might win a championship as is, but they've got some gaping holes that a great roster and a smart coach can exploit. Fortunately for the Heat, the Pistons possess none of those things tonight.
Keys to the Game:
How Moosey Got his Groove Back - seriously, for the start of the season, Greg looked like the hottest Monroe since Marilyn. Over the last five games, his offense has fallen through the floor. He turns the ball over more than he passes, he's not hitting jumpers or layups, and the only thing that appears to be working are the rebounds and free throws. I don't know what it's going to take, but Monroe needs to get ahold of the style he started this season with. If he can do that, he has the potential to own the frontcourt matchup tonight.
Dribble penetration - I usually hate this style of play, but since Detroit has plenty of it, it could come in handy tonight. Miami has Chris Bosh and no one else in their frontcourt, so driving for layups will bring whistles and force Miami to play the zero cards it has up front.
Be just as careful about dribble penetration - Detroit also has a terribly shallow frontcourt, so foul trouble for Moose could make this game even harder to watch than it already will be. LeBron lives at the foul line, or at least rents a condo there, so be extra careful tonight.
Question of the Game:
Greg Monroe is shooting 33% over the last five games. He started the season white hot. Is this an aberration that will soon be forgotten, or this level of usage too much for Moose? This is a rhetorical question. This is an aberration. I demand it to be so.