After beating the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, the Detroit Pistons will travel to Florida to take on the state’s other NBA franchise, the Miami Heat. Coming off that 112-86 victory, the Pistons head south with a 2-2 preseason record.
The Heat (1-2) are coming off a 99-89 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, a game that took place in Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena. The team’s Big Three of Chris Bosh (11 points, five rebounds), LeBron James (11 points, three rebounds, four assists, three steals) and Dwyane Wade (seven points, three assists) had solid games in limited minutes, while the team’s big offseason pick-up, Ray Allen, struggled mightily with his shot, going 3-of-10 from the field, including 0-of-5 from three-point range.
Detroit rebounded nicely on Tuesday, carving up the Orlando defense for 112 points on 54% shooting, including 10 makes from three-point range. They also had 26 assists to 16 turnovers, a positive trend considering the youth in the backcourt for the Pistons.
A crucial stat that the team will need to replicate if they hope to beat Miami is their points in the paint. They scored 46 against Orlando, and with Heat big men Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and Jarvis Varnado all out with injuries, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond will need to exploit that weakness.
Limiting James, Wade and Bosh is never an easy task, but pressuring their complementary teammates like Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Terrel Harris and Shane Battier into turnovers and poor shots will help Detroit’s cause. Players like Jason Maxiell, Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko must be on top of their games, as those second-tier players for Miami will probably play more than the team’s Big Three.
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