It’s a matchup of Eastern Conference foes in the Motor City. The Miami Heat close out a six game road trip as they face the Detroit Pistons Sunday afternoon. Miami won its second straight game as they defeated Utah 84-74 on the road Friday night. Detroit has won four in a row as they dispatched the Hawks by a 111-104 score at home Friday night. The Heat holds a 55-50 advantage in the all-time regular season series but the teams split four meetings last season, each winning once on the road and at home.
Miami Heat Seek to End Road Trip With Winning Record
Miami had their struggles offensively in Utah but they did enough to shut down the Jazz and pick up the win. The Heat improved to 3-2 on their road trip and could secure a winning record with a win here. Miami trailed by 12 at the half but stifled the Jazz in the second half, outscoring them 47-25, including a 20-8 edge in the third quarter that tied the game heading to the fourth. The Heat overcame 39 percent shooting from the floor, in part by hitting 10 of 25 from three point range. Miami limited Utah to 33.8 percent shooting while winning the rebounding battle 48-40. Dion Waiters led the Heat with 21 points in the win.
The Heat has been mediocre offensively so far this season, ranking 24th in the league with 101.8 points per game. Miami has been average on the glass as they are 16th with 43.6 boards per game. The Heat is 24th in assists with 20.2 per contest. Miami comes in 9th in scoring defense as they allow 102.3 points per game. Hassan Whiteside is the big man in the low block with 15.3 points plus 13.1 boards a night but missed five games with a knee bruise. Goran Dragic averages 20 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while Dion Waiters puts up 16.4 points per contest. James Johnson (12.6 points, 6.1 boards, 4.5 assists), Kelly Olynyk (10 points, 6.1 rebounds) and Josh Richardson (9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds) are solid secondary options. The Heat also look to Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson and Justise Winslow to contribute on both ends. Miami is 17th in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.3 percent as a team. The Heat stands 9th with 10.8 three pointers a night and tied for 18th in three point shooting at 35.1 percent.
Detroit Pistons Seek Fourth Straight Win
Detroit continued their strong start to the season as they managed to hold off the Hawks for a third straight win. The Pistons try to pick up their 10th win of the season and win their fourth in a row here. Detroit led by 16 at the half and held off the Hawks after seeing their lead trimmed to seven entering the final quarter. The Pistons shot 43.8 percent from the field and knocked down 12 of 30 attempts from three point range in the contest. Detroit won the rebounding battle 51-45 to help overshadow 17 turnovers. Reggie Jackson finished with 20 points plus six assists in the win.
The Pistons have been up and down offensively, ranking 15th in scoring offense with 106.1 points per game. Detroit is 19th in rebounding with 42.8 boards per game and are average sharing the ball, ranking 14th in assists with 22.2 per night. The team is 8th in scoring defense as they allow 101.1 points a game. Tobias Harris is leading the team with 19.7 points plus 4.8 rebounds per game. Reggie Jackson adds 16.3 points plus 6.2 assists per contest, Avery Bradley adds 16.4 points while Andre Drummond contributes 14.2 points, 15.5 rebounds and 1.75 steals per night. Langston Galloway chips in seven points per game. Anthony Tolliver, Ish Smith, Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard and Jon Leuer all are key pieces for the Pistons rotation. Detroit is tied for 10th in the league by shooting 46.3 percent from the floor. The Pistons are currently tied for 13th in the league in three point field goals per game with 10.4 per game while ranking tied for 9th by sinking 37 percent from downtown.
- Heat are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- Heat are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Eastern Conference
- Heat are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Central
- Pistons are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 Sunday games
- Pistons are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss
Miami has won back to back games on the road against Western Conference foes to improve to 3-2 on this trip. The Heat are glad to be home after this one but that could be a bit tricky as they’ll be looking forward to getting on the plane and heading back to South Beach. The Pistons are on a roll right now and have the second best record in the Eastern Conference entering Saturday night. Detroit is 6-1 at home in the early going: their hard-nosed play spurs them to another home victory to send the Heat back home with a .500 record on their trip.
Pick: Detroit Pistons -3
Miami has run the gamut on this road trip: in their last three games on the swing, they scored 80 points against Golden State in a 17 point loss, 126 against Phoenix in an 11 point win and 84 against Utah in a 10 point victory. The fact that the Heat survived despite such a poor offensive performance is impressive. Detroit is playing well right now and has been terrific at home in the first year in their new venue. The Pistons, along with Orlando, are two of the big surprise stories in the East in the first month of the season.
The under is 5-0 in the Heat’s last 5 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game, 8-1 in their last 9 games following a ATS win, 5-1 in their last 6 overall and 4-1 in their last 5 games playing on 1 day of rest. Detroit has seen the under go 21-5-1 in their last 27 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 4-1-1 in their last six games on Sunday. This one likely ends up under the total given Miami’s issues on offense during this road trip.