NBA Picks: Pistons vs. Heat

Joe Catalano

Friday, January 25, 2013 2:56 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 2:56 PM GMT

The Detroit Pistons have been playing better basketball as of late. They’ll be given the ultimate test as they face the Eastern Conference leading Miami Heat. Can Detroit keep this competitive?

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET, tonight, at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists the Heat as a 9.5 point NBA betting favorite and the total for the game is 194.

The Pistons have won 6 out of their last 10 games, but how can they stop “The Big 3?”

He’s that damn good!

Pardon the expletives, but there’s no words other than best player on the planet to describe LeBron James.

 In their last game, the Heat were put to the test as they were taken to overtime by a subpar Raptors team. Miami managed to outscore Toronto 14-7 in the extra session and put another “W” in the win column.

LeBron James had another phenomenal night as he had 31 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. He doesn’t get a Rondo-like triple double in which he barely eclipses each category in double figures; he puts up 30 plus points. Not to mention, his team usually wins.

Look for LeBron to have another big game. There’s absolutely nobody on the Pistons roster that can stop him; plain and simple.

A Second Wind

Everyone, including myself, was writing Dwayne Wade off, saying that he’s logged too many regular season and playoff minutes and has lost his touch. Since then, Wade has rebounded and returned to the old “D Wade” that fans are used to seeing.

In his last 2 games, Wade is averaging 31 points, 6 assists and 4.5 rebounds. Along with Wade, center, Chris Bosh, has also been playing well as of late. Bosh has had games in which he’s looked like the guy that he was in Toronto. A Bosh-Monroe matchup is interesting, but Miami’s stars are unstoppable.

Look for Miami to give Detroit a very difficult time on Friday night.

He Has His Moments

At 15.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game, center, Greg Monroe, has moments on the court where he looks like a superstar. In the past couple of seasons, Monroe has not been able to take the next step to be a Chris Bosh or even Brook Lopez for that matter due to his lack of consistency.

Monroe is coming off of a 9 point effort on 4 of 13 shooting from the field in a loss against Chicago. Superstar centers don’t go up and down like Monroe does and until he plays in a consistent manner, the Pistons will be a losing team. Tayshaun Prince will occasionally put up a big game and brings veteran championship leadership, but he doesn’t have the game that Monroe does.

[gameodds]5/134747/43/us[/gameodds]

When Will He Take the Next Step?

Point guard, Brandon Knight, fits into the same category as Greg Monroe. He has the talent and can trick people into thinking that he’s a budding superstar and will then come up with a 1 point game like he did on January 17th against the Knicks.

In order to be a legitimate force in the NBA, a player has to “bring it” on a nightly basis, and Brandon Knight isn’t there yet. That said, at 13.9 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game, he’s the best that Detroit has to offer at the moment and there is potential. Against a team like Miami, Knight is overmatched and it won't be enough to overcome the NBA odds. Unless he has one of his best performances of the season, the Pistons are in for a long night.

Outcome

Detroit has been playing well as of late, but the Heat are on a different level. There’s going to be nobody to stop LBJ and D.Wade defensively for Detroit and if one of them is having a rough shooting night, Chris Bosh is always there to pick up the pieces.

NBA Free Picks: Miami -9.5 at 5 Dimes

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