Pistons at Heat Game Preview - December 3, 2013
Regular Season Game #18As 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.