Pistons-Heat Preview

As if the Miami Heat hitting their stride wasn’t intimidating

enough for opponents, there seems to be a new element of Chris

Bosh’s game to cause concern.

The Heat look to extend their latest winning streak to 11 games

Tuesday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.

In Sunday’s 99-98 victory over the Bobcats, Bosh scored 22

points and pulled down nine rebounds, but it was where his points

came from that was surprising. The forward scored 13 straight

points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers – his most

ever in a quarter and tied for his single-game career high.

“It kind of just happened,” Bosh said. “I was wide open so I

figured I would take a step back and in the words of our late

teammate Mike Miller, `let it fly.’ That was really it.”

Bosh is playing nearly five fewer minutes per game than he was

last season, but that hasn’t kept him from adding some range to his

jumper. He’s seven 3-point makes away from matching his career high

– set in 2012-13 – and is attempting nearly two per game.

With the Heat (14-3) leading the NBA in field goal percentage

(51.3), Bosh’s ability to be a threat from beyond the arc has made

them that much more difficult to defend.

“We have no problem shooting wide-open looks,” coach Erik

Spoelstra said. “(Bosh) has been putting a lot of time in, before

and after practice.

“Once he hit the first one, the second one, you could tell he

wanted it.”

Miami’s shooting percentage is so impressive partially thanks to

James, who is shooting 59.8 percent from the field – by far the

best mark of any forward in the league. James is shooting 64.8

percent in his last seven home games.

James has averaged 29.3 points on 63.2 percent shooting in his

last four home games versus Detroit. The Heat have won all five at

home against the Pistons since James and Bosh’s arrival, including

two last season by a combined 46 points.

Bosh and James will have their hands full in the post with

Pistons center Andre Drummond, who is coming off one of the best

single-game performances in the NBA this season. Drummond had

career highs of 31 points, 19 rebounds and six steals Sunday in

Detroit’s 115-100 win against the 76ers, becoming the first player

since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990 to record that line.

“It was a great team win,” Drummond said. “For me, it was a good

game for me; played well. I was in the right spots at the right

times.”

Drummond is shooting 65.2 percent from the field, but he’s just

17 of 53 (32.1 percent) from the free-throw line. The 76ers started

intentionally fouling him in the third quarter, and Drummond missed

11 of his 18 attempts from the stripe.

”Andre’s a great young player, but I told him tonight that he

needs to learn from this,” coach Maurice Cheeks said. ”If he

becomes a better free-throw shooter, no one will be able to knock

him out of a game.”

To have a chance to knock off Miami, the Pistons (7-10) may need

Drummond and Greg Monroe to dominate the glass – something they’ve

proven capable of doing lately. Detroit’s plus-6.1 rebound

differential since Nov. 20 is the Eastern Conference’s best, while

Miami’s minus-3.2 margin this season is among the worst in the

league.

The Pistons had a plus-5.3 margin against the Heat last season

but lost two of three meetings. Monroe averaged 27.0 points and

13.5 rebounds in the two losses in Miami.

The Heat have won seven of the past eight meetings at home by an

average of 12.0 points.