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Heat To Try To Cling To Sole Possession Of Last Playoff Spot

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MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Heat's playoff hopes nearly took a devastating blow, but the exact impact is still unclear.

With Dwyane Wade's status in question, the visiting Heat will try to at least cling to sole possession of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by continuing their dominance of the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night.

Miami (34-41) is eighth in the crowded East race, a half-game ahead of Boston and 1 1/2 in front of Indiana while Charlotte is lurking two back. The Heat are also one game behind Brooklyn for seventh, but they haven't helped their cause by losing five of seven.

It nearly got worse when Wade was hurt in a 114-88 loss at Cleveland on Thursday. The All-Star guard bruised his left knee in the second quarter, as it bent awkwardly as he crumpled to the floor.

"I knew I was in trouble on my way down. It's just unfortunate," Wade said. "Nothing happened I guess. I was a little concerned. Once they did the tests on my knee to make sure all my ligaments were strong and straightened, it's a little better.

"Hope to get it a little better. We'll see when Saturday comes. If I'm good enough to go, of course, I will. If I'm not, I'll see Sunday (in Indiana)."

That's been a common refrain from Wade this season, as he's missed 19 games due to a variety of injuries while Miami has been besieged with ailments in its first season without LeBron James.

The Heat are already missing All-Star forward Chris Bosh (blood clots), while Udonis Haslem has missed the last two games with a stomach flu.

"Story of the season," Wade said, "and it continues."

A healthy Wade could have a big impact against the Pistons. He's averaging 27.1 points in his last seven games against them - all victories. That includes 40 points in a 109-102 home victory on Sunday, while Haslem added 18 with 13 rebounds before sitting out the subsequent contests.

Miami tends to have little trouble with Detroit, winning 18 of the past 22 matchups and nine of 11 on the road. However, the Heat fell 108-91 in the most recent visit Feb. 3 with Wade sidelined by a strained right hamstring.

The Pistons should be thrilled to open a four-game homestand after losing for the 16th time in 19 on the road in Friday's 88-82 defeat at Chicago. Detroit has won four straight as host for the first time since a five-game run from Jan. 28-Feb. 10, 2014.

While the Pistons are already assured of a seventh straight losing season and headed for a sixth in a row out of the playoffs, there's hope for the future behind Andre Drummond.

The center is the first player in team history to have at least 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 blocks in back-to-back seasons. He put up 14 points, pulled down 22 off the glass and matched his career high by swatting away six shots Friday.

"Andre competed really hard," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I was really happy with him."

That was also the case against Miami earlier this week, as Drummond scored a career-high 32 points with 14 rebounds while hitting 14 of 17 from the floor.

Reggie Jackson had 31 points and nine assists in that matchup, and enters this one after scoring 22 with nine assists against the Bulls.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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