This is the Pistons 1st of 2 games against the Heat during the final 11 games of the season, as they will face off again to close the season.
This actually isn’t the 1st time these two teams have squared off this season as they played back in early December and the Pistons somehow won by 20 points.
The Heat are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race while the Pistons are fighting for lottery positioning, so they both have very different objectives in this game.
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Sunday, March 20 at 6 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (+9)
Don’t let the Pistons’ 20 point win in the last game fool you. At the time of that game, the Heat were still fighting through the tough start they had to the season while the Pistons still seemingly had something to play for.
Cade Cunningham was out at that point, but we were only a month and a half into the season and there was at least still some hope that the Pistons wouldn’t be the worst team in the NBA.
In that game, Bojan Bogdanovic had 31 points and was 7-of-9 from 3. He was the sole reason the Pistons won, and he will not be playing. And he won’t be the only one not playing, as the usual suspects for the Pistons will all be out (Stewart, Bogdanovic, and Burks) and you can also add Isiah Livers to that list, as he is doubtful.
Marvin Bagley is expected to return from injury, which will help a bit offensively, but if he returns to the starting lineup, the Pistons will lose Eugene Omoruyi’s defensive effort and opportunistic scoring that has made a difference in the last few games.
The Heat are mostly at full strength, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they use this as an extra rest day. Why play guys like Jimmy Butler when you can probably win this game playing only a couple of starters?
The Pistons have definitely been scrappy their last few games with a short-handed roster, but this is a team that has won 1 game since the All Star break. I could very much see this game going like Thursday’s game against the Nuggets where the Pistons led for parts of the game and gave them a scare, but ultimately lost by double digits.
The Pistons simply don’t have enough firepower to keep up with a veteran, well-coached team like the Heat.
The Pistons do not have somebody that can guard Jimmy Butler or slow down Tyler Herro, and if both of those guys play, that is pretty much all it will take. The Pistons may have the size to deal with Bam Adebayo, but neither James Wiseman or Jalen Duren are that good of defenders to deal with him.
If you enjoy college basketball even a little bit, I would advise you to watch the entertaining March Madness and not the March Madness that is the Pistons trying to play basketball.
Miami Heat (38-34): Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Bam Adebayo
Detroit Pistons (16-55): Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Rodney McGruder, Marvin Bagley, James Wiseman
Question of the Day
Do you think teams will start to use games against the Pistons as “rest days” for good players and will that result in the Pistons stealing a few wins down the stretch?