DETROIT (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Heat are winning games with a steady balance on both ends of the floor.
The Heat are dominating teams on the defensive end while spreading the points around on the other side of the court. The Heat will go for their fourth straight win and seventh in the last eight games when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
The Heat held an opponent under 80 points for the second time this season in a 95-78 triumph over the New York Knicks on Monday, wrapping up a 6-1 homestand in which they surrendered an average of 90.9 points.
Center Hassan Whiteside is the anchor of that defense and blocked five shots on Monday – the ninth time in 10 games that he swatted at least four shots – to bump his league-leading average to 4.85.
The Pistons are searching for answers after suffering a sixth loss in eight games on Monday, 109-88 at the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I'm really disappointed and worried about where we are right now," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. "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."
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Miami), FSN Detroit Plus
ABOUT THE HEAT (9-4): The Knicks marked the second straight opponent to shoot under 40 percent from the floor and the seventh this season.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra was reluctant to heap praise on his team, telling reporters simply, "some defensive habits are being built."
Point guard Goran Dragic made his mark on the defense with three steals in Monday's contest and is starting to break out of an offensive slump with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting against the Knicks.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (7-7): Detroit shot 34.1 percent at Milwaukee and was outscored 63-36 in the second and third quarters.
"We didn't match up to their intensity and energy," Van Gundy told reporters. "When one team has a decided advantage in that area, it's going to be a long night. They had a huge advantage in that area."
Andre Drummond turned in his customary double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds but went 6-of-14 from the field against the Bucks and has to deal with Whiteside in the middle on Wednesday.
- The Pistons took two of three in the series last season, winning both at home.
- Miami PF Chris Bosh is 5-of-23 from the field in the last two games.
- Detroit rookie F Darrun Hilliard made his NBA debut on Monday and went 1-of-7 from the floor in 13 minutes off the bench.
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