Pistons kick off two-game road trip in Miami

Jan 23, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) goes to the basket as Sacramento Kings guard Arron Afflalo (40) defends during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 23, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) goes to the basket as Sacramento Kings guard Arron Afflalo (40) defends during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /
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After a second disappointing loss to the Sacramento Kings for the season the Detroit Pistons head to Miami to try and make up some ground on the the last three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

The Detroit Pistons find themselves only two games out of the sixth seed and four games out of the fifth seed, so things aren’t all doom and gloom just yet as many would have you believe.

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However, games like this have now become must win as we head into the second half of the season.

Despite their bottom-five record, the Miami Heat are still a team who can outperform other teams when at their best and have been playing with an aura of swagger and flair recently.

As of late they put together an extremely impressive five-game win streak that includes victories over the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

It’s even more impressive when you consider Chris Bosh, Tyler Johnson, Josh McRoberts, Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow have all missed one or more games during this streak.

Amidst this win streak has been the exciting resurgence of Dion Waiters, who had fallen by the wayside this season.

During these five games Waiters has averaged 23.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and has shot 56 per cent from the field and 60 per cent from three.

The only downside of his game during this stretch has been his horrible 55.6 per cent free throw shooting.

Waiters is the definition of a confidence player, and after a rocky few games returning after a lengthy stint on the sidelines with injury, Waiters’ confidence levels are at an all time high right now.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is going to have his hands full trying to shut down Waiters, but if he’s able to put him off his game the Heat might find themselves in an offensive hole.

With so much fire power missing from this Miami Heat team, Waiters being shut down or having an off night would make it tough for them to keep up with the Pistons.

The Heat are the second worst scoring team in the league (99.2 points per game) and while the Pistons are only a few spots ahead in 24th (100.6 points per game), the Pistons only give up 101.3 points per game, which is fifth best in the NBA.

The matchup with the Heat is also a perfect opportunity to get Andre Drummond into gear.

Drummond has been rebounding the ball pretty well lately (15 per game over the last 5 games), but in most other aspects he has been lacklustre.

Facing a quality center like Hassan Whiteside (assuming his ankle is healthy) would be a great chance for Stan Van Gundy to give Drummond a bigger role in the offence and some confidence in the second half of the season.

Drummond’s field goal attempts per game (11.6) are the lowest of his career since 2013-14, which isn’t ideal after how important he was in getting the Pistons to the playoffs last season, where he took the most field goals of his career (13.1).

The majority of Drummond’s field goal attempts seem to be coming from deep jump hooks, which won’t be netting him many points against a big man like Whiteside

However, when Drummond is wreaking havoc on the glass and getting easy points from offensive rebounds opposing teams have no answer.

This is the Andre Drummond the Pistons need if they’re going to make a push for the playoffs in the second half of the season.

If this playoff push is to ever build steam it needs to start against the Miami Heat and Drummond needs to be a driving factor.