The Miami Heat are enjoying one of their best runs since their championship season of 2005-06. With no quality opponents remaining, they have a strong chance to carry their winning streak into the playoffs.
In yet another game with a subpar team, the Heat look to win 10 straight for the first time in four years as they host the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
Miami (44-34), tied with Milwaukee for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, is playing well at an ideal time. The Heat have four games remaining before postseason play.
A win over Detroit (25-53) would give Miami 10 in a row for the first time since Feb. 12-March 8, 2006. The Heat ended up winning a title then, going 52-30 in the regular season.
That had been the last time Miami was 10 games above .500 before it beat Philadelphia 99-95 on Wednesday night.
Miami, though, has faced one team with a winning record during its streak, beating the Bucks 87-74 on March 26. Its last three games are against New York, Philadelphia and league-worst New Jersey.
Still, the Heat have reason to be confident heading into their second straight postseason appearance. Wade and Udonis Haslem(notes), teammates since their rookie seasons in 2003-04, have been providing leadership.
“You see that passion, focus, what it means to them,” coach Erik Spoelstra told the Heat’s official Web site, “and it’s setting a great example for the rest of the team.”
Wade scored eight points in the final four minutes against the 76ers, and Haslem had 11 rebounds to finish in double figures for the fourth straight game. Wade has started 460 games, one shy of matching Glen Rice’s franchise record.
Wade has been held to an average of 16.0 points in two games versus the Pistons this season, going 4 for 6 from 3-point range. Miami has shot 53.3 percent (48 for 90) from beyond the arc in winning five straight against Detroit.
The Pistons are coming off a strong game against one of the East’s top teams, beating Atlanta 90-88 on Wednesday night. Despite being hampered by injuries, Detroit has won two straight after losing its previous 11.
Tayshaun Prince(notes) (personal reasons), Richard Hamilton(notes) (ankle), Jason Maxiell(notes) (back) and Chris Wilcox(notes) (hamstring) all sat out against the Hawks. Prince is expected to return, but Hamilton, Maxiell and Wilcox are questionable.
He had nine points and nine rebounds in a 124-103 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
“Austin has really shown signs of figuring the game out,” coach John Kuester said.