One of the league's worst road teams plays the league's top home team tonight as the Detroit Pistons visit the Miami Heat. The Pistons might need to rely on a higher power to come out with a victory on Easter Sunday. Sorry for the late thread.
Game Tips Off at 6:00 P.M. EST
The Pistons have shaken off their horrendous start to play above .500 since their 4-20 mark to begin the season. But that doesn't mean that they aren't heavy underdogs as they go into Miami. The Pistons have only six wins on the road and only one against a team with a winning record. Miami is 23-3 at home, meanwhile, and has won all six meetings between these two teams since the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to South Beach. The Heat are actually coming off of a loss at home, to the surging Memphis Grizzlies, and that means either they are struggling and the Pistons have a shot or that they are angry and refocused and might take out some frustration on Detroit.
Keys to the game:
Make James human -- LeBron James is the top scorer on the Heat, averaging 26.8 points per game. James is the Heat's top rebounder at 8 boards per game. James is the Heat's top facilitator with 6.5 assists. The Pistons need to keep in front of him and turn him into a jump shooter. He's sporting a much better jumper than earlier in his career but the less damage he does in the paint the better.
Backcourt production -- It will be a tall order for Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Brandon Knight to match the production of James and Dwayne Wade. But there is an opportunity if the Pistons are willing to take it. Stuckey has taken his game to another level and he always seems extra focused when playing a team with a top guard on their roster. It's well known that Stuckey grew up idolizing Wade's game so hopefully he can show the elder superstar what he can do. As for Gordon and Knight, both like to shoot the three and one of the few weaknesses of the Heat's stellar defense is that they allow opponents open looks from long distance. If Knight and BG can each knock down a handful from deep the floor will open up for other Pistons to go to work.
Bench production -- The Heat have the best starting rotation in the NBA but are third-worst in the league in getting just 24 points per game from their bench. Unfortunately, the Pistons aren't much better, getting just 26.2 points per contest. But the Pistons do have players that can get hot. If Stuckey (or Gordon if Stuckey starts) and Jonas Jerebko can combine for 40+ points the Pistons can mitigate some of the damage the Heat starts will surely do. And, hey, maybe Lawrence Frank will dust off Austin Daye, who had a season-high 28 points when these two teams met earlier in the season.
Question of the game:
How many babies on Jason Maxiell's Easter dinner plate?