If Shaq was healthy to play, this could turn out as an epic match between two teams who have recent play-off history with each other. Sadly O`Neal is still recovering from his knee surgery, which makes the Heat vulnerable championship team that needs 100% performances from their young superstar Dwyane Wade, to win games.
Though winning last 2 games, Miami is still suffering from a hangover of last year championship title. Guys like Payton and Walker are yet to bring at least some reasonable quality to the team, Jason Williams is still away from his best and James Posey is recovering from strained calf injury. That all said, there are some positive things happening in the Heat team as well: Dwyane Wade is still virtually unstoppable scoring 28.1 points per game and youngster Dorell Wright at times shows some signs of becoming a solid player.
With or without O`Neal, Miami is yet to have a win over a strong team in this season. All 6 wins have come against the teams with losing record at the moment (NJ, SEA, ATL, CHA, PHI). At the same time the average loss against the teams with a winning record is 12,6 points. The simple fact is that stronger teams have enough quality in them to slow down Wade, while if given too much freedom Dwyane is able to keep games close against weaker teams, even if not getting much support from teammates.
On the other hand we have a rested team currently on a 6-game winning streak. Detroit played its last game on Saturday, so they have had 4 full days of rest. If Miami struggles to win against strong teams, then Detroit hardly lose games they enter as favourites. They have lost only 1 game so far against team currently having losing record (season opener against the Bucks).
The Pistons see this match as a possibility to get at least some revenge for the play-off loss last year. Its obvious that every team tries to bring their A game against the defending champions, especially if they see that “the animal is wounded”! Not having a Shaq and being out of sync, will be too much for the Heat to win this game against the suddenly hot looking Pistons. Spread line –3.0 points is our call with medium stakes!
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