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Pistons at Heat preview: Fully rested, Detroit takes on surging Heat

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The Heat have won six straight as the Pistons make a visit to South Beach.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Quick, what’s the strangest starting lineup you’ve witnessed an NBA team trot onto the court? I’ll give you a minute to think about it.

.........

Whatever you decided on doesn’t hold a candle to this Mötley Crüe:

McGruder, Ellington, Richardson, Babbitt and Reed started for the Miami Heat on January 1st against your Detroit Pistons but don’t laugh too hard, the joke was this close to being on Detroit. Miami controlled most of the first half before the Pistons finally put away the Heat’s JV squad 107-98.

Could the Heat do us a solid and throw away another game, we’d surely appreciate it.

Game Vitals

When: January 28th at 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

Heading into the season, Miami was in a state of flux. Their prodigal son left for Chicago, they resigned Hassan Whiteside to a hefty extension in the summer of 2016, and Chris Bosh was not cleared (medically) to play. A transition period indeed.

The Heat lost 30 of their first 41 games and it became clear that there would be no postseason. The lousy start made the decision to fully dive into rebuild mode, not that much of a decision at all.

Justise Winslow has been shut down for the season.

Goran Dragic is a regular name in trade rumors.

Extra caution is being taken with Whiteside’s ankle.

They started McGruder, Ellington, Richardson, Babbitt, Reed in an actual game and no one blinked.

Rebuilding is the word in Miami.

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The Heat have already had a helluva week with wins against the Golden State Warriors and on the road in Brooklyn, both coming in dramatic fashion. The hero of each game? None other than Dion Waiters:

When asked about his late game heroics, Waiters came up with this gem:

“Oh man, I love that moment. I mean, you can never shy away from that. I just feel -- one of my favorite quotes is uh, I forgot it already. But yeah, can’t be afraid of taking them shots”.

Where can I sign up for more Waiters quotes?

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The Heat will be playing Detroit on the second night of a back-to-back which obviously favors the Pistons. Miami, though, has won six straight including last night against Chicago — and Dwyane Wade.

Dragic led the way with 26 points and 11 assists and reminded everyone - in case you mistakingly forgot - that he can still play.

Below, he takes advantage of a cheating Robin Lopez to get Willie Read an easy hoop; then connects with James Johnson on the pick and roll:

Like most teams, the pick and roll is a staple of the Heat’s offense and the Dragic can certainly score in that setting as well:

Above, Jimmy Butler initially does a good job of stringing out Dragic’s path to the basket but once the Bulls take a breath, he goes on the attack again and ends up with a relatively easy jumper.

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Lineup Projections

Detroit

Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer

Miami

Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Willie Reed, Luke Babbitt, Rodney McGruder

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Prediction

Detroit has absolutely no excuse to come out lethargic as they haven’t played in what seems like a couple weeks.

Miami has absolutely no excuse to win as it does them no good.

In times like these, I fallback on one of my favorite quotes -- OK, I forgot how it goes but yeah, the Pistons should win.

Pistons 107, Heat 94