LeBron James won’t have very long to nurse a banged-up shoulder after getting tackled on the eve of the Super Bowl.
The Miami Heat will likely need the reigning MVP to contribute on the boards as they try to avoid their second home loss this season to the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
James finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals in a 106-91 win over New York on Saturday, but had to shake off a hard fall that left him wearing an ice wrap over his left shoulder after the game.
The 10-time All-Star was cruising toward the basket on a fast break when the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony wrapped him up with a hard foul to prevent an easy bucket in the third quarter.
"I’m not going to get caught up in that and try to make that the story of the game," said James, who has missed one game this season. "The way we played tonight was the story of the game."
The Heat (33-13) shot 53.9 percent while bouncing back from a 112-95 home loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. They’ve now shot 51.4 percent or better from the field in five straight games.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points against the Knicks, giving him a total of 37 on 17-of-27 shooting over his last two games.
Though Miami ranks 26th with a minus-3.1 rebounding margin, it has shown improvement lately with a plus-7.5 margin over its last four games.
The Heat now hope to continue that trend as they go for their seventh win in nine games before heading off on a six-game Western road trip.
That certainly won’t be easy against the Pistons (19-27), who are eighth in the league with a plus-2.8 rebounding margin. They’ve also outrebounded their opponents 114-84 on the way to consecutive victories.
Andre Drummond has pulled down 31 boards in his last two, finishing with 22 points and 14 rebounds while going 10 of 11 from the field in a 113-96 win over visiting Philadelphia on Saturday.
Greg Monroe had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Kyle Singler added 20 and 10 to give the Pistons three players with at least 20 points and 10 boards for the first time since Dec. 3, 1997.
"This is the game we like to play, not take as many jump shots and pound the ball inside," Drummond told the league’s official website.
Drummond had 10 points and 18 rebounds as Detroit handed a Wade-less Miami team one of its four losses in 23 home games this season with a 107-97 win Dec. 3.
The Heat, however, exacted some revenge while playing again without Wade five days later when James scored 24 and Ray Allen added 18 in a 110-95 victory in Detroit.
James has totaled 64 points in his last two games heading into this matchup, though his 24.7-point average against the Pistons in his second-lowest against any opponent.
Drummond had another big game with 19 points and 14 rebounds in the December loss, while Brandon Jennings also scored 19. Jennings has averaged 22.0 points in his last five games against Miami dating to his time with Milwaukee.
The Pistons have dropped 15 of the last 18 meetings.