The Detroit Pistons look to build off perhaps their biggest victory in the last seven seasons when they visit the Miami Heat on Tuesday to start a two-game trip to the Sunshine State. The Pistons, who play at Orlando on Wednesday, won 94-90 at Chicago on Saturday to increase their lead over the ninth-place Bulls to two games in their quest to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008-09.
Detroit is tied with Indiana for seventh in the Eastern Conference with five games left, including a pair against the playoff-bound Heat. “These are games you need to be in for your team to grow and learn,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told the Detroit News. “Last year, at this time, we were just winding it up. It was coming to an end and it’s great to be playing in games that matter all the way through the season.” Miami clinched its 19th postseason appearance in the team’s 28 seasons after Detroit’s victory over Chicago, despite a 1-2 road swing capped by a 110-93 loss to Portland on Saturday. Heat leading scorer Dwyane Wade (neck, back) missed the last two games and is questionable for Tuesday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Sun (Miami)
LINE HISTORY: The line was held back until Tuesday morning while everyone awaited the status of D. Wade. When a line was eventually released the Heat came out of the gates as 4.5-point favorites and the total was set at 195.5.
Pistons – PG S. Dinwiddie (Questionable Tuesday, ankle), SG J. Meeks (Out Tuesday, foot).
Heat – SG D. Wade (Questionable Tuesday, neck), PF C. Bosh (Out Tuesday, leg).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Pistons (-2.7) – Heat (-5.5) + home court (-3) = Heat -5.8
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “The Warriors continue to be No. 2 in the West ATS (41-32-3), but have now failed to cover five of their last seven games. Four of those ATS defeats came as double digit favorites.” – Covers Expert Power Sports.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (41-36, 39-36-2 ATS, 39-38 O/U): Leading scorer Reggie Jackson (18.5) snapped out of a shooting slump with 22 points against Chicago while Marcus Morris continued his scoring surge with 16. Morris is averaging 23.7 points over the past three contests and has drained 32-of-51 from 3-point range over a 12-game span. Tobias Harris has contributed 18.3 points per game over the past four, but defensive stopper Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has struggled during the same stretch by making just 13-of-48 from the field.
ABOUT THE HEAT (44-32, 39-36-1 ATS, 32-43-1 O/U): Miami allowed 106 points per game on the road trip – 7.5 above its average – and has a difficult final six games as it battles three other teams for third place in the East. “Instead of just looking at the standings and where we’re going to end up at the end of the year, we’ve really got to focus on us and try to figure it out right now: How can we go into the postseason being at our best?” forward Luol Deng told reporters. Center Hassan Whiteside has been outstanding with 18 double-doubles in the last 22 games.
DANCE TEAM BATTLE:
* Pistons are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
* Heat are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Central.
* Under is 6-0 in Pistons last 6 games playing on 2 days rest.
* Under is 7-1 in Heat last 8 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.
COVERS CONSENSUS: No consensus data at this time.