Heat welcome Pistons to South Beach

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat will be at home for the last time in a long while Monday night when they welcome the Detroit Pistons to AmericanAirlines Arena.

After Monday's tilt, the two-time defending NBA champions will head west for a six-game road trip. The All-Star Game will be played during their trip as Miami plays the Clippers, Jazz, Suns, Warriors, Mavericks and seeks redemption in a rematch against the Thunder, who trounced them in Miami on Wednesday.

But before they hop on a chartered jet, the champs have to contend with a Detroit team that beat the Heat in Miami on Dec. 3. Sure, five days later Miami trounced the Pistons in Motor City, but the Pistons hung one of only four home losses on the Heat.

Last time out, in front of celebrities and athletes galore at Madison Square Garden, the Heat pounded the New York Knicks, 106-91.

LeBron James filled it up for Miami, tallying 30 points and eight rebounds to lead the Heat in a win on Super Bowl eve.

James also contributed seven assists and six steals to help Miami get back on track after getting smacked by Oklahoma City, 112-95, on Wednesday. Dwyane Wade added 22 points and Shane Battier scored 16 on 5-of-8 shooting to snap Miami's brief two-game skid against the Knicks.

"We got stops, we forced turnovers and we defensive rebounded," said James. "On the offensive end we just executed. When we do that, we're a very good team."

The Pistons have won two straight and will try to recreate that successful formula which saw them win in South Beach. On that night in early December, the Pistons shot over 51 percent from the floor, killed the Heat on the glass and forced 19 turnovers.

On Saturday, in Detroit's most recent victory, it was balance and big men.

Andre Drummond scored 22 points to lead four Pistons with 20-plus points in Detroit's 113-96 drubbing of the ailing Philadelphia 76ers at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Drummond shot 10-of-11 from the field and grabbed 14 rebounds with five blocked shots for the Pistons, who have won four in a row against Philly. Greg Monroe donated 21 points, 12 rebounds and four steals while Brandon Jennings and Kyle Singler netted 20 points apiece in the rout.

"When Greg is having a game like that, it makes it easy for me," said Drummond. "They're focusing on him and when he does miss a shot, I'm usually there to tip it back in."

Despite the Pistons success against the Heat this season, Miami has won 10 of the last 12 meetings. The Heat have won seven of their last nine as the host in this series.


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