NBA Basketball - Detroit Pistons (-3½, 183) at Miami Heat 8:00 PM EST
Miami believed they were poised to make another second half run after finally Shaq was back, Pat Riley was at helm and Dwayne Wade was just being himself. A tough opening two game trip after the All-Star break to Houston and Dallas was going to be a challenge anyways; however when Wade dislocated his left shoulder all the best plans of mice and men were laid to rest.
As Wade seeks another opinion with the hopes of not needing season ending surgery, the Big Fella has started playing like "sheriff" he was in Los Angeles. The Heat is trying to chase down injured Washington in the Southeast division and accomplished step one with 92-83 win at there house.
O'Neal scored a season-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 37 minutes. Shaq missed 39 games and is feeling more comfortable and accepting the responsibility as the leader now increasing his scoring average and rebounds since Wade has been out. "I don't have the same 1,000-percent explosiveness," said O'Neal. "But it's coming back."
The number of people who thought Chris Webber would return to be a valuable commodity were three. General manager Joe Dumars, coach Flip Saunders and Webber himself. The rest of the NBA world had seen this tired act of a broken down power forward who had turned into Vince Carter, launching up three pointers with regularity and grabbing the occasional rebound. Instead the former Michigan product has been a hard working, productive player in the Pistons uniform, scoring and hitting the boards, reminding most of a much younger version of the same player. He has been a large chunk as to why Detroit is the beast of the East with 12-1 (7-6 ATS) record since January 31.
This will be just the second rematch between last year's Eastern finals participants. Detroit got the first one 87-85 down in Miami and will be looking for a repeat performance.
sportsbook.com does not have an official line on this contest yet with Rasheed Wallace questionable with an ankle and Webber likely to play. Speculation is this will be a one point either way.
Miami is 8-3 ATS in last eleven outings and 6-2 against the number with a day off between games. Detroit comes in well rested, having last played on Sunday. In theory this sounds good, unfortunately the Pistons have been misfiring with 3-5 ATS record in spite of winning five times.
Detroit is among the better road teams in the NBA with 17-9 record and 16-10 ATS mark is third best in the league. What the Pistons need to overcome is dour records in March. They are just 10-22 ATS in the calendar's third month the last 3 years.
Once a total is established, consider what Miami has done. The Heat is 10-3 Over off an upset win as an underdog and 19-4 the last three seasons.
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