Heat Face Pistons In Game With Major Playoff Implications

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AUBURN HILLS (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – With the regular season winding down, every game is a must win for teams vying for a playoff spot.

The Detroit Pistons are slumping at the wrong time as they enter a pivotal game against the visiting Miami Heat on Tuesday.

Detroit has dropped four straight and seven of its last eight contests as it trails eighth-place Miami by 1 1/2 games for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Detroit suffered a devastating 109-95 loss to lowly New York on Monday to further extend its untimely slide.

The Pistons play three of their next four at home as they attempt to end their funk before the regular season concludes with three of four on the road.

Miami holds a one-half game lead over Chicago for the No. 8 spot but has dropped three of its last four contests.

The brief slump comes after the Heat won 23 of 28 games to recover from an 11-30 record at the midway point.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), FSN Detroit

ABOUT THE HEAT (35-38): Miami fell 112-108 to Boston on Sunday despite center Hassan Whiteside delivering 19 points and 15 rebounds. Whiteside didn’t display any signs of the ankle injury he suffered Thursday as he posted his 15th consecutive double-double and 51st of the season.

Shooting guard Dion Waiters (ankle) didn’t travel to Detroit and will miss his fifth consecutive contest as the timetable for his return is unknown, according to coach Erik Spoelstra.

ABOUT THE PISTONS (34-40): The latest loss was highly frustrating to coach Stan Van Gundy as his squad failed to take advantage of a recent light schedule.

“You look at four losses here (New York and Brooklyn), a home loss to Philly, two losses to Orlando, all teams that are behind us,” Van Gundy told reporters after the setback against the Knicks. “That’s a huge part of where we are right now.”

Center Andre Drummond is averaging 17.2 rebounds over his last six games, but his offensive production has been minimal as he’s averaged eight points in that span while missing all 10 of his free-throw attempts.

BUZZER BEATERS

  1. The Heat have won 21 of the last 30 meetings, but the Pistons hold a 2-1 series edge this season.
  2. Detroit backup F Stanley Johnson is 3-of-14 shooting over his last two contests.
  3. Miami SG Tyler Johnson scored 24 points in the loss to Boston and is averaging 17.8 over his last five games.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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