Detroit (41-36) at Miami (44-32)
When: Tuesday, April 5th 2016
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The Miami Heat, who have clinched a playoff spot already, host the Detroit Pistons, who are battling two other teams for the last two spots in the Eastern Conference. Detroit is coming off a huge win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday to move two games clear of them and are tied with Indiana for seventh in the East. The Pistons will have two games left against Miami and will finish the season up in Cleveland as part of the five games they have remaining. Leading scorer Reggie Jackson (18.5) poured in 22 points against Chicago while Marcus Morris continued his scoring surge with 16. Morris is averaging 23.7 points over the past three games and has hit 32-of-51 from beyond the arc in the last twelve. Tobias Harris has averaged 18.3 points per game over the past four, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has struggled during the same stretch by making just 13-of-48 from the field.
Miami clinched their playoff berth when the Pistons beat the Bulls on Saturday and are in a four-way battle for the third-seed in the East. Atlanta is the only team they need to be worried about as winning the Southeast Division gets them the three. They start the night just a half a game behind the Hawks with six to play. They play the Magic twice along the way and finish up at Boston. Miami stumbled to a 1-2 West Coast swing including a 102-100 loss against the lowly Lakers. Miami allowed 106 points per game on the road trip – 7.5 above its average – including a 110-93 loss at Portland on Saturday. Center Hassan Whiteside has been a force for the Heat with 18 double-doubles in the last 22 games. Leading scorer Dwyane Wade (neck, back) missed the last two games and is questionable for Tuesday. Gerald Green had 30 points in the win over Sacramento on Friday, but was held to seven against Portland while filling in for Wade.
Both teams have a lot to play for and this should be a competitive game. Wade is still listed as questionable for tonight, but I think Miami has enough to pull away in the fourth quarter and cover this contest. Look for Whiteside to collect another double-double.
Pick: Heat -4