Pistons vs Heat preview: Bringing the Heat to Little Caesars Arena

Detroit Bad Boys

After an eventful game on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Detroit Pistons will look to bounce back from a tough loss as they play host to the Miami Heat. The Heat remade their roster a bit in the offseason and have gotten off to a great start. The Pistons have had a rough go of it so far this season, but they have recently started to show more promise. Now they just need to get healthy.

Game Vitals

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +10

Game Analysis

The Miami Heat come into this game sporting an 11-6 record and a top-five defense, according to Defensive Rating (105).

The offseason addition of Kyle Lowry via a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors has helped their defense and given them the upgrade at point guard the team has been in search of for a long time. His numbers this season are not eye-popping, but he has been a huge help on both ends of the court.

The Heat are only 6-5 in the month of November after starting off the season 5-1, but they are still one of the better teams in the East and a team we should expect to see playing into June.

They are being led by Jimmy Butler, who is having the best season of his career and is one of the early front-runners for MVP. He is currently averaging 25.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists on the season while only shooting 27% from 3-point range. He also brings his usual hard-nosed defense.

Another underrated addition from the offseason was PJ Tucker. He has filled the role he has always played throughout his career of a good defender in the frontcourt who can defend bigger players while also hitting a few threes on offense. He is currently shooting 46.7% from 3-point range on the season including 58.3% over the last 10 games.

One of the biggest reasons for the Heat’s great start to the season outside of their defense has been the play of Tyler Herro off the bench. He is an early favorite for Sixth Man of the Year as he is averaging a cool 21.6 points off the bench, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. The Heat have been clowned the last couple of years for their refusal to include Herro in potential trades for star players, but their faith appears to be paying off in a big way this season.

For the Pistons, they need to put Sunday’s brawl and huge fourth quarter collapse behind them. They played the Lakers tough for three quarters, but after losing out on Isaiah Stewart’s size and bulk in the frontcourt, they struggled to guard Anthony Davis. They will be without Stewart for the next two games as the league handed out suspensions from his dust-up with LeBron James. Without Stewart, they could have a lot of problems with defending Bam Adebayo, who is also having a career season.

The Pistons played a small lineup off the bench against the Lakers on Sunday that featured one of the point guards (Cade Cunningham or Cory Joseph), Frank Jackson, Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson, and Trey Lyles. The lineup had a lot of success in the first half and with the Pistons likely to be short-handed in the frontcourt, I would expect to see it a lot.

You could also see some lineups with Jerami Grant at center. That lineup will probably struggle to rebound, but it could be pretty fun offensively depending on the personnel you surround him with.

The Heat are not a huge team, so there might not be as many problems defensively like there was for the Pistons trying to guard Anthony Davis.

The Pistons will also be without Killian Hayes, as he is taking a couple of games off to rest his injured thumb. This means the Pistons will be short-handed for the next couple games. We could see some Saben Lee and Luka Garza, or even 2-way wing Jamorko Pickett. These injuries/suspensions give Dwane Casey a chance to experiment a bit with some different lineups, and the Pistons could maybe catch the Heat off guard with it.

The Pistons have shown some signs of improvement on offense in recent games, but this very well could be a game that their offense struggles in. They still haven’t shot the ball that well in their “good” games offensively, so I expect that to be an ongoing issue all season. But it could be even worse against a team like the Miami Heat.

Projected Lineups

Miami Heat (11-6)
Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, Bam Adebayo

Detroit Pistons (4-12)
Cory Joseph, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Trey Lyles

Question of the Game

The Pistons showed a big flaw in their roster when Isaiah Stewart got ejected from the last game, do you expect them to pursue a placeholder big man while they are without Kelly Olynyk, or do you expect them to just play small and try to manage it?

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