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Pistons vs. Heat Preview: Battling the Heat in Miami

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The Pistons take on the Heat for the first time since Miami’s improbable Finals run in the bubble

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons have gotten off to a 2-9 start, but that’s been pretty much expected. The NBA Finals runner-up Miami Heat have gotten off to a 4-6 start, which is ... much less expected. Back-to-back games against the Pistons look to be a great opportunity for the Heat to dig out of their disappointing start and back to .500. The Pistons will look to steal one on the road in the first of two consecutive road games against the Heat.

Game Vitals

When: Saturday, January 16 at 8:00 pm
Where: American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Game Analysis

The Pistons might be catching the Miami Heat at the right time. A slew of early-season injuries and COVID-protocol related issues has the Miami Heat short-handed early in this season. It is a big reason why the Heat are off to their 4-6 start on the season.

Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic, and Meyers Leonard are all expected to be out for this matchup, which will test the Heat’s depth. The Heat are a deep team, but it is tough to overcome the loss of arguably your two best players in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

In their absence, Tyler Herro has stepped up and built off of his solid play in the NBA bubble last season that was a huge factor in the Heat’s run to the Finals. He is leading the Heat in scoring at 17.6 points per game. The Heat have been using Herro as a point guard for a lot of the season and he has had some success doing it.

The Heat have also started Gabe Vincent the last couple games with Herro in the backcourt, and he has come out of nowhere to be a big time contributor for the Heat. He has scored 24 and 21 points in the Heat’s last two games against the 76ers. Vincent joins the list of many players who come out of nowhere to become contributors for the Heat.

Given the Pistons propensity for getting torched by random bench players, I would expect another big game out of Vincent.

Despite being shorthanded, the Heat will not hesitate to let it fly from deep, which gives them a chance to win any game. The Pistons have done a poor job defending the 3 point line this season, so the Heat are probably going to exploit that.

This game should be one of the Pistons easier games to win this year simply because of how short-handed the Heat have been and the fact that the Pistons should be mostly healthy.

The Pistons are currently on a four game road losing streak, and it is going to take a solid effort for them to put an end to that.

Lineup Projection

Detroit Pistons (2-9)
Delon Wright, Josh Jackson, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee

Miami Heat (4-6)
Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk, Precious Achiuwa

Score Prediction

Heat 111, Pistons 105

As per usual, the Pistons will play a tough game and hang around. Also as per usual, the Pistons will not have enough talent to pull out the win. The Pistons poor 3-point defense will allow the Heat to shoot and make a lot of threes and that will be the difference in the game.

Question of the Game

Will Sekou Doumbouya continue to not get any playing time, or will Dwane Casey find more ways to get him playing time like he recently said in his media availability?