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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 6th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (9-37) at Detroit Pistons (34-13), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Central Division-leading Detroit Pistons battle the disappointing Miami Heat tonight at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The big news is that 35-year-old center Shaquille O'Neal could be traded from the Heat to the Phoenix Suns as early as Wednesday. The Miami Herald reported a representative for O'Neal confirmed the superstar center has been told to prepare for the possibility of a trade. Multiple reports indicate that the Heat have discussed sending O'Neal to Phoenix for forward Shawn Marion and point guard Marcus Banks.

Multiple media outlets reported Tuesday night that O'Neal is expected to fly to Phoenix Wednesday to undergo an MRI on his ailing left hip, which has caused the center to miss the last six games.

O'Neal has two years left on his contract after this season. He is set to be paid $20 million in each of the next two years and is averaging a career-low 14.2 points along with 7.8 rebounds this season, but has fouled out of a game six times.

Marion, 29, is a four-time All-Star and is averaging 15.8 points and 9.9 rebounds this season. The 26-year-old Banks is averaging 5.2 points and 1.0 assists per game. After this season, Banks has three years left on his contract worth a total of $13.4 million.

The Pistons will play the third of a five-game homestand and enter tonight's contest on a five-game winning streak. Rasheed Wallace scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots as Detroit forced the Dallas Mavericks into their worst offensive performance of the season in a dominant 90-67 victory on Sunday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Tayshaun Prince added 16 points and seven rebounds for Detroit, which has won five in a row after a three-game losing streak. Rookie Rodney Stuckey came off the bench to score 11 points, while Richard Hamilton and Jarvis Hayes both netted 10 in the victory.

Detroit is 17-4 at home this season. The Pistons will host Portland on Friday and Charlotte on Sunday at The Palace.

Miami has lost four straight games overall and nine in a row on the road. On Monday, All-Star Chris Bosh scored 24 points as the Toronto Raptors cruised to a 21-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 114-82 thrashing of the hapless Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Dorell Wright came off the bench to lead the Heat with 17 points, while Alexander Johnson scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Dwyane Wade registered 12 points for the Heat, who have dropped 19 of their last 20 games overall.

The Heat are 4-18 as the visitor this season. They will visit Andre Iguodala and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday at the Wachovia Center.

This is the second of four meetings between the clubs this season. On November 1st, Prince scored 34 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead Detroit over the Heat, 91-80, in South Beach.

The Pistons have won two in a row and five of the last six contests in the series. Miami has dropped three straight and eight of its last nine trips to the Motor City.

02/06 10:47:10 ET


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