Pistons-Heat Preview

The Associated Press

Minus Dwyane Wade, Miami's lengthy winning streak versus Detroit came to an end last month.

Based on the way Wade has performed in the last two games overall, the Heat might have a good chance to lay the foundation for another positive run against the Pistons.

Coming off his highest-scoring game of the season, Wade looks to help the Heat to a fourth consecutive victory when they host the Pistons on Friday night.

Wade's 20.5-point average is his lowest since his rookie season, but he's averaging 2.0 fewer shot attempts than last season and shooting a career-best 51.2 percent to remain a big reason why Miami (27-12) has the best record in the Eastern Conference.

He totaled 37 points while taking 28 shots over a three-game stretch before scoring 27 in a 99-90 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday. Wade followed that with 35 points Wednesday to help the Heat rally from a 15-point first-half deficit for a 123-116 overtime victory against Toronto.

"I think I have been playing decent," said Wade, who is 24 of 39 (61.5 percent) from the field in the last two games. "I just want to stay focused and hope to have the ability to have more games like this."

Wade's performance, coupled with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds from LeBron James and 18 points from Ray Allen, allowed the Heat to shake off the rust of a five-day layoff. Wade added seven assists, the last of which came on Allen's 3-pointer with 59.3 seconds left in overtime to seal the victory.

"It was set was up to be an excuse game," coach Erik Spoelstra said after the Heat's first home game in 17 days. "Hopefully the second half is more indicative of how we are playing now."

Serving a one-game suspension for flailing his leg and making contact with Charlotte's Ramon Sessions on Dec. 26, Wade missed a 109-99 loss at Detroit two nights later that snapped the Heat's seven-game series winning streak. Wade has played in only three of Miami's last seven meetings with the Pistons, scoring 24 points in each while shooting 55.3 percent.

James, who has averaged 31.8 points on 60.9 percent shooting in his last four games overall, scored 35 while Chris Bosh added 28 as the Heat allowed the Pistons to shoot a season-high 58.1 percent - including 12 of 19 from 3-point range - last month.

Miami has won five of six at home over Detroit (16-26), which was in excellent position for a third consecutive victory but blew a 17-point second-half lead in Wednesday's 85-82 loss at Chicago. The Pistons shot 36.6 percent in the final 24 minutes to fall to 4-15 on the road.

"Especially on the road, when things aren't going your way, we have to maintain our poise, our discipline, our execution on both ends to win the game," coach Lawrence Frank told the Pistons' official website. "We have to play with more poise and discipline down the stretch."

Will Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists to help Detroit's bench outscore the Heat reserves 64-20 last month.

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