Heat-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

Even if Dwyane Wade remains out of Miami's lineup, a visit to Detroit still could help the Heat end their current struggles on the road.

With or without one of their three superstars, the Heat look to avoid a fourth straight loss away from home as they try for a sixth consecutive road victory over the Pistons on Wednesday night.

Wade (19.6 points, 5.4 assists per game) missed his fifth consecutive game Tuesday with a sprained right ankle, but is expected to be in Detroit for this contest. Whether he plays or not remains uncertain.

The ankle problem and a previous foot injury have sidelined Wade eight games this season. He scored 24 points each in a pair of road victories over Detroit last season.

Miami (12-5), which concluded a 4-1 homestand with a 92-85 win over Cleveland on Tuesday, looks to snap a three-game road skid that came after it won its first five away from home. With Wade in the lineup, the Heat suffered overtime losses at Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers before falling 117-104 at Denver on Jan. 13.

The Heat however, have a good chance to end that skid in Detroit, where they've held the Pistons to 85.6 points per contest during a five-game winning streak at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Miami has won four in a row and nine of 10 overall versus Detroit.

Chris Bosh totaled 40 points and 17 rebounds in two games at Detroit last season for the Heat. Bosh, who scored 35 on Tuesday, averaged 26.6 points on 49-of-82 shooting during Miami's five-game home stretch.

"Whenever I play and I don't hesitate, good things happen,'' said Bosh, who scored 17 fourth-quarter against the Cavaliers to match his highest-scoring game since coming to Miami last season.

LeBron James, held to 18 points against his former team Tuesday, was limited to 35 combined points in two meetings with the Pistons last season.

Detroit (4-14) snapped a five-game home losing streak with a 94-91 victory over Portland on Saturday, but took another step back with a 99-79 loss at Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City on Monday.

Without key injured contributors Ben Gordon (shoulder), Will Bynum (foot) and Charlie Villanueva (ankle), Detroit shot a season-low 34.1 percent while losing for the 11th time in 13 games.

"I just know we have a whole lot more to give and a whole lot more talent in that locker room to have performances like these,'' coach Lawrence Frank said. "We just can't accept it.''

Rookie Brandon Knight scored 13 points while Rodney Stuckey and Greg Monroe added 12 apiece for the Pistons, who are last in the NBA in offense at 84.9 points per contest.

"The bottom line is this is who we are," Frank said. "We haven't been consistent, so that's where we're at right now. We're just going to have to work a whole lot harder and smarter and tougher together.''

Stuckey appeared to have re-aggravated a nagging groin injury Monday, but could be back in the lineup for this contest. He was held to nine points in each of the Pistons' home defeats to Miami in 2010-11.

Monroe had 14 points and 12 rebounds in a 100-94 home loss to Miami on March 23 in the teams' most recent meeting.

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