Heat-Pistons Preview

While Dwyane Wade returned to help Miami regroup from

consecutive defeats, he could be back on the sidelines Sunday

versus surging Detroit.

That could spell trouble for the visiting Heat, who couldn’t

handle the Pistons without Wade earlier this week.

After falling 107-97 to Detroit on Tuesday and 107-87 at Chicago

two nights later, Miami (15-5) pulled out a crucial 103-82 win at

Minnesota on Saturday. LeBron James had 21 points, a season-high 14

rebounds and eight assists while Wade scored 19 after missing the

previous two games, one due to lingering knee trouble and the other

because of illness.

“Don’t talk about it, just go do it. To me, when I say it, I go

and make it happen,” James said. “We don’t like losing back-to-back

games, and we definitely don’t want to lose three in a row.”

Wade, though, may return to the bench as the Heat play the

second of a back-to-back. Miami is 2-3 without him this season.

“All of it’s frustration,” Wade said. “Everyone wants to be 100

percent every day. But it’s a part of the game. Everyone deals with

it in their own way. The only thing I can focus on is when I’m able

to get back on the court and go out there and help my team

win.”

The Heat surely could have used Wade against Detroit, which

scored 29 points off 19 turnovers Tuesday. Seven players scored in

double figures for the Pistons, including a combined 34 off the

bench from Kyle Singler and Rodney Stuckey. Andre Drummond added 10

to go along with 18 boards as Detroit outrebounded Miami 46-34.

“They’re a huge team, we know that,” James said after posting 23

points and six turnovers in the loss. “Records don’t matter when we

play teams. Obviously teams play a totally different pace and

totally different style when they get up to play us. There is no

complacency with us; it is the name of the game. You can’t look at

records and say they should win. We have to go out and play and if

you don’t you get beat.”

The Pistons (10-10) have yet to lose this month, outscoring

opponents by an average of 12.3 points during a four-game winning

streak. Brandon Jennings scored a season-high 33 points as Detroit

got back to .500 with Saturday’s 92-75 rout at short-handed

Chicago.

“He made plays when we really needed him to make plays,” coach

Maurice Cheeks said. “That is what he is evolving to. He knows when

we need to make a play. We need him to play like this and shoot the

ball the way he is capable of shooting.”

The Pistons held the Bulls to season lows in scoring and field

goal percentage (33.3). While Detroit put together two four-game

runs last season, it hasn’t won five in a row since Dec. 4-12,

2009.

“I like the way we are playing,” Cheeks said. “I think we have

been getting better every game. Our defense has been getting

better. Clearly our offense is a little better. I like our flow, I

like our defensive flow, I like our offensive flow, I think we are

getting better in all phases.”

Jennings had 15 points in Miami last week, and the Pistons may

need to lean on him more with Stuckey’s status up in the air.

Stuckey, who exited in the second quarter Saturday with a sore left

knee, is second on the team with 15.4 points per contest.

Despite Tuesday’s win, the Pistons are 3-14 in their last 17

against the Heat.