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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, December 29th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (17-12) at Detroit Pistons (23-3), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A rematch of the 2004-05 Eastern Conference finals takes place tonight, as the red-hot Detroit Pistons welcome the Miami Heat to The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The defending Eastern Conference champion Pistons got a scare in the 2005 East finals, as they trailed Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and the Heat 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. However, the experience of the Pistons showed as they won Game 6 at home and dismissed Miami on its homecourt in Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals for the second straight year.

The Pistons have won seven of eight, 10 of 12 and 11 of the last 14 meetings in this series. Miami has lost six of eight and nine of its last 13 at Detroit.

Detroit closesout a five-game homestand and comes into tonight's game on an eight-game winning streak. It won eight in a row to open the campaign. On Tuesday, Richard Hamilton scored 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor to lead a balanced Detroit attack, as the Pistons posted a 113-106 win over the Toronto Raptors at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Chauncey Billups added 21 points and 13 assists in the win over Toronto for the Pistons, who have won 14 of their last 15 games overall. Tayshaun Prince chipped in 18 points, while Rasheed Wallace netted 16 for Detroit, which improved its franchise-best start to a sizzling 23-3.

The Pistons are 11-1 at The Palace and are 11-1 against Eastern Conference squads this season. They have won seven in a row in front of their home crowd.

Miami has won two straight games and plays the opener of a brief two-game road trip. On Tuesday, Wade netted a game-high 35 points and dished out seven assists as the Heat defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 109-98, at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Shaq finished with 23 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday's victory for the Heat, who are 6-2 under new head coach Pat Riley. Jason Williams chipped in 18 points and seven assists in the victory.for Miami, which has won seven of its last nine games overall.

The Heat, who will visit the Washington Wizards on Friday at the MCI Center, are 9-8 on the road this season. They have dopped four of their last seven as the visitor.

12/29 10:17:11 ET

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