Pistons at Heat Game Preview - Jan. 28, 2011
A visit from the Detroit Pistons could be what the Miami Heat need to help begin a potential breakout from their roughest stretch of the season.
Coming off their latest defeat, the Heat return home looking for another dominant effort against the Pistons on Friday night.
Hours after it was announced that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will become the first set of teammates to start for the Eastern Conference All-Stars since Wade and Shaquille O'Neal represented the Heat in 2007, Miami (31-14) couldn't overcome a 15-point fourth quarter in Thursday's 93-88 loss at New York.
Wearing goggles to help him deal with migraines, Wade had 34 points with 16 rebounds and James added 24 on 7 of 24 shooting with 11 boards while playing in the post as the Heat lost for the fifth time in six games since winning 21 of 22.
While Wade topped 30 points for the fourth time in his last six games, he missed all seven shots in the fourth quarter after he was 14 of 15 through three in his first game back after missing Saturday's 120-103 win over Toronto.
"Kind of got out of a rhythm there for a while, doing what I was supposed to do," Wade said.
Though James has averaged 33.4 points his last five games and Wade 29.2 his last six, the Heat continue to miss the services of Chris Bosh.
Miami has been outscored in the paint in two of three games without Bosh, who could miss a fourth straight contest with a sprained ankle.
"I never get frustrated, man," Bosh said. "Every day it's getting better. Getting frustrated doesn't help. I don't like to be frustrated."
Even without Bosh, the Heat have a good chance to get back on track against the Pistons (17-29), who have dropped six of seven versus Miami.
The Heat held Detroit to 36.8 percent shooting and its lowest-scoring game of the season in a 97-72 home win Dec. 1. James and Wade combined for a modest 34 points in a contest dominated by Miami's defense.
Detroit, however, has split its last two games while scoring at least 100 points in both. That included a 103-96 win at Orlando in its last road contest Monday.
The Pistons were unable to build on that win and fell 109-100 at home against Denver on Wednesday.
Charlie Villanueva scored 19 points while Ben Gordon added 15 as Detroit allowed more than 100 points for the first time in six games.
Rodney Stuckey scored seven points Wednesday before he injured his shoulder.
Though Stuckey was held to eight points on 1-of-7 shooting at Miami last month, the Pistons likely can't afford to be without their point guard.
"I'll make the trip and we'll see how it feels," Stuckey said.
If Stuckey is unable to play, Pistons coach John Kuester could turn to the disgruntled Richard Hamilton, who missed Wednesday's game with the flu. Hamilton, however, likely would not have played in that contest after being benched the previous eight games.
Hamilton scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting against the Heat last month.