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Pistons vs. Heat preview: Last game before Christmas

The Pistons will travel to Miami to face the Heat as they spend Christmas on the road.

NBA: Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons won’t be playing on Christmas day, but they will likely be spending Christmas on the road as their 3 game road trip that started on Tuesday in New York continues to Miami. It will conclude with a game in San Antonio on December 26.

It is unfortunate that the team will have to spend the holidays away from family, but at least they will get to spend the holidays in nice weather. So they get the last laugh for all of us in Michigan.

The Pistons just faced the Heat on Sunday and won to end their 14-game losing streak, but the Heat are a much better team at home, so things might not go as well as Sunday.

Game Vitals

Where: FTX Arena in Miami, FL
When: Thursday, December 23 at 7:30 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds:

Game Analysis

When the Pistons defeated the Miami Heat on Sunday, the Heat were very short-handed. They have a lot of nagging injuries and used the game against the Pistons as an opportunity to rest. They paid the price as they were the team that the Pistons beat to stop their 14 game losing streak, one game short of the franchise record.

The Heat will still be without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but they should have Tyler Herro back. They have solid depth and have been able to cover for some of their injuries, but Tyler Herro has been the Heat’s leading scorer this season, so getting him back will be a huge spark to their bench that has been hit hard by some of their depth pieces moving to the starting lineup.

The Heat are currently riding a 3 game home win streak and coming off a 125-96 beatdown of the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. They were still short-handed in that game, but Herro had 26 points off the bench and showed the kind of impact he has had for the Heat off the bench this season. It was something they were clearly missing when the Pistons won on Sunday

Speaking of Sunday, the Pistons struggled to defend Max Strus, who scored 24 points off the bench. The Pistons played pretty good defense on the rest of the team, but were also the beneficiary of some very poor Miami shooting. Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent, and Duncan Robinson combined to shoot 8-of-34.

I would not expect the Heat to shoot that poorly and it still took all of that for the Pistons to barely pull off the win against them on Sunday.

The Heat trapped and double-teamed Cade Cunningham throughout the game and it resulted in him only putting up 4 shots as he was forced into passing the ball and making the rest of the team beat the Heat. With Cade Cunningham now sidelined in the Health and Safety Protocols, Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes, and Hamidou Diallo are going to have to step up again on offense like they did on Sunday if the Pistons want any hope of winning.

Even if those three step up along with a couple bench players, the Pistons are going to be very limited in shot creation and will struggle on offense. Cade may be a rookie, but he is far and away the Pistons best offensive creator right now and the Pistons are not good offensively.

The Pistons are coming off a very poor performance against the New York Knicks in which the only players able to do anything offensively were Saben Lee and Trey Lyles in the 2nd half. The final score looked a lot closer than it actually was as the Pistons were thoroughly dominated from the opening tip off.

There isn’t a worse cure to a poor performance than a very good defensive team, which the Miami Heat are.

Lineups

Miami Heat (19-13): Kyle Lowry, Gave Vincent, Duncan Robinson, PJ Tucker, Dwayne Dedmon

Detroit Pistons (5-25): Killian Hayes, Cory Joseph, Hamidou Diallo, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

How much of a drop off offensively will we see from the Pistons without Cade Cunningham? How long do you think he will be out?