Game Preview: Struggling Pistons face Miami Heat in “gut check” game at the Palace

On Wednesday night, the Detroit Pistons (6-9) take on the Miami Heat (4-9) at the Palace of Auburn Hills at 7:30pm eastern.

Probable Starting Lineups:

Detroit Pistons

PG: Ish Smith

SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

SF: Marcus Morris

PF: Tobias Harris

C: Andre Drummond

Miami Heat

PG: Goran Dragic

SG: Dion Waiters

SF: Jason Richardson

PF: Derrick Williams

C: Hassan Whiteside

The Pistons have lost four straight, including back-to-back games at home. Over that span, the Pistons have given up 100.5 points per game while only scoring 92.7 points on 41.2% shooting.

After the Pistons last game, Coach Stan Van Gundy questioned the team’s motor when he stated, “we’re all upset about the loss [to Houston] but, especially on the boards and even getting back on transition, we’re not competing as hard as we need to. In the half court, our defense is pretty good, but up and down the court we get lazy. And on the boards, we’re just not competing hard enough.”

Stan Van Gundy also called out the Pistons ball movement stating, “we had some selfish moments in the game” and “I thought particularly in the first quarter, it was all ball movement. And we got away from it in the second quarter, badly. And then we started the third quarter with selfishness. And, yeah.”

Pistons Forward, Marcus Morris, even alluded to the fact that the team might rely too much on Andre Drummond for rebounds. “[Drummond] grabs all the rebounds, so it’s like the times where we think he’s going to get it, we kind of pull out of there,” he said. “I consider myself a great rebounder, but he’s also the best rebounder in the league, so at times we depend on him to get it because he normally does.”

Similar to Detroit, the Heat are a very strong defensive team, allowing only 96.9 points per game (4th of 30) with the third best defensive rating (1o2) in the NBA. Also similar to the Pistons, the Heat struggle on offense, scoring only 96 points per game (27th of 30).

The Miami Heat are coming off a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, 101-94. On Monday night, Heat center, Hassan Whiteside, set a career high with 32 points along with 13 rebounds. 

Andre Drummond faces a tough matchup on both sides of the floor. In thirteen games this season, Whiteside has averaged 18.8 points, 15.9 rebounds with 2.7 blocks in 33.2 minutes.

Ish Smith will also have his hands full facing point guard, Goran Dragic. Over his last three games, Dragic has posted 16 points with 5.7 assists. At 6’3, Dragic will look to overpower Ish (6’0) off the dribble and Drummond better be ready to protect the rim.

Look for the Heat’s coach, Erik Spoelstra, to also rely on shooting guards, Dion Waiters (13.3ppg), Tyler Johnson (11.3ppg), Josh Richardson (11.0ppg) and small forward, Justise Winslow (11.6ppg) to balance out the team offensively.