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Heat-Pistons Preview

Nov 24, 2015 - 4:47 PM Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Amare Stoudemire and Luol Deng have all led a team in scoring at one point during their careers, but this version of the Miami Heat is making its mark at the other end of the floor.

The Heat have been the NBA's best defensive team so far, and they shouldn't have much trouble looking the part Wednesday night as they visit a Detroit Pistons team that's finding few answers offensively.

Miami (9-4) allowed 103.8 points per 100 possessions in its first season without LeBron James, but its efficiency has taken an impressive turn in the first month of 2015-16. The Heat are allowing a league-low 94.0 points per 100, yielding the NBA's lowest opponents' field-goal percentage (40.4) and second-lowest 3-point percentage (29.7).

Five of Miami's seven opponents on its just-completed homestand shot in the 30s, with the Knicks' 32.2 percent mark Monday registering as the fourth-worst performance in the league this season. The Heat won 95-78 to cap their stay in South Florida with a sixth victory.

"You can see some defensive habits being built," coach Erik Spoelstra said after a game in which no Miami player scored more than 16 points. "In this game I think it was fitting that there wasn't a quote-unquote star of the game. It was more of a group effort."

That's made up for some struggles on the other end, where Bosh (43.4 percent) and Wade (42.7) are having career-worst seasons in terms of accuracy for a team that's 26th in 3-point percentage (30.8).

But the Heat have held on to the ball - they've totaled 33 turnovers in their three straight wins - and have allowed a league-low 8.46 fast-break points per game after limiting the Knicks to two.

''We're going to need these habits that we've built in these last couple games,'' guard Tyler Johnson said. ''We're building a championship-level defense. We're definitely on the right path and I think we can get even better.''

They'll see the Knicks again Friday, but first is a stop in Detroit to face a team that seems to have little chance of exposing Miami. Only the winless 76ers are scoring fewer points per 100 possessions than the Pistons (97.6), who shot a season-low 34.1 percent in Monday's 109-88 loss at Milwaukee.

Stan Van Gundy was not pleased.

"I'm really disappointed and worried about where we are right now," the coach said. "Through the first six or seven games, I thought we competed hard on a consistent basis. Since then, I think we've competed on a sporadic basis in games. We've had stretches, and we bring ourselves back into the game. But, it has not been as consistent and then tonight we had no stretches where we competed.

"So, that obviously has to change."

The Pistons' bench provided 45 points Monday with the game out of hand early in the second half, but it's averaging a league-low 21.4. Detroit (7-7) is a plus-55 this season with its starters on the floor and minus-69 with any other combination.

Van Gundy's team isn't afraid to take 3s - ranking 10th in attempts - but it's the least-accurate in the NBA at 29.3 percent. Only Ersan Ilyasova is shooting better than 34 percent.

Andre Drummond averaged 19.0 points and 15.0 boards against the Heat last season as the Pistons took two of three, while the only game Miami won came with Hassan Whiteside sidelined. Wade went for 40 in that 109-102 victory.

Reggie Jackson averaged 30.0 points and 10.0 assists in his two games against the Heat after donning a Detroit uniform.

  • MIAMI: 81
    DETROIT: 104

    Nov 25 9:43 PM

  • End of 4th Quarter.

    Nov 25 9:42 PM

  • MIAMI: 62
    DETROIT: 83
    End of 3rd

    Nov 25 9:22 PM

  • End of 3rd Quarter.

    Nov 25 9:16 PM

  • MIAMI: 43
    DETROIT: 60

    Nov 25 8:36 PM
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    Heat 43, Pistons 60  HalfNov 25 8:36 PM

  • End of 1st Half.

    Nov 25 8:36 PM
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    Heat 35, Pistons 48  2nd - 3:12Nov 25 8:28 PM

  • MIAMI: 19
    DETROIT: 25
    End of 1st

    Nov 25 8:05 PM

  • End of 1st Quarter.

    Nov 25 8:05 PM

  • MIAMI: 0
    DETROIT: 0
    1st Quarter - 12:00

    Nov 25 7:41 PM

  • Hassan Whiteside vs. Andre Drummond (Goran Dragic gains possession)

    Nov 25 7:41 PM
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    Heat vs. PistonsOct 19 9:31 AM
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    Heat vs. PistonsAug 13 8:31 AM