While Dwyane Wade returned to help Miami regroup from consecutive defeats, he could be back on the sidelines Sunday versus surging Detroit.
That could spell trouble for the visiting Heat, who couldn't handle the Pistons without Wade earlier this week.
After falling 107-97 to Detroit on Tuesday and 107-87 at Chicago two nights later, Miami (15-5) pulled out a crucial 103-82 win at Minnesota on Saturday. LeBron James had 21 points, a season-high 14 rebounds and eight assists while Wade scored 19 after missing the previous two games, one due to lingering knee trouble and the other because of illness.
"Don't talk about it, just go do it. To me, when I say it, I go and make it happen," James said. "We don't like losing back-to-back games, and we definitely don't want to lose three in a row."
Wade, though, may return to the bench as the Heat play the second of a back-to-back. Miami is 2-3 without him this season.
"All of it's frustration," Wade said. "Everyone wants to be 100 percent every day. But it's a part of the game. Everyone deals with it in their own way. The only thing I can focus on is when I'm able to get back on the court and go out there and help my team win."
The Heat surely could have used Wade against Detroit, which scored 29 points off 19 turnovers Tuesday. Seven players scored in double figures for the Pistons, including a combined 34 off the bench from Kyle Singler and Rodney Stuckey. Andre Drummond added 10 to go along with 18 boards as Detroit outrebounded Miami 46-34.
"They're a huge team, we know that," James said after posting 23 points and six turnovers in the loss. "Records don't matter when we play teams. Obviously teams play a totally different pace and totally different style when they get up to play us. There is no complacency with us; it is the name of the game. You can't look at records and say they should win. We have to go out and play and if you don't you get beat."
The Pistons (10-10) have yet to lose this month, outscoring opponents by an average of 12.3 points during a four-game winning streak. Brandon Jennings scored a season-high 33 points as Detroit got back to .500 with Saturday's 92-75 rout at short-handed Chicago.
"He made plays when we really needed him to make plays," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "That is what he is evolving to. He knows when we need to make a play. We need him to play like this and shoot the ball the way he is capable of shooting."
The Pistons held the Bulls to season lows in scoring and field goal percentage (33.3). While Detroit put together two four-game runs last season, it hasn't won five in a row since Dec. 4-12, 2009.
"I like the way we are playing," Cheeks said. "I think we have been getting better every game. Our defense has been getting better. Clearly our offense is a little better. I like our flow, I like our defensive flow, I like our offensive flow, I think we are getting better in all phases."
Jennings had 15 points in Miami last week, and the Pistons may need to lean on him more with Stuckey's status up in the air. Stuckey, who exited in the second quarter Saturday with a sore left knee, is second on the team with 15.4 points per contest.
Despite Tuesday's win, the Pistons are 3-14 in their last 17 against the Heat.
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