• The NBA took the night off on Monday so we could bare witness to an awesome NCAA championship game. There are 11 games on the schedule for Tuesday, April 5th, and with so many games to choose from it can be difficult to find the right games to watch. That’s why Hoop Ball is here to help guide you to the games you don’t want to miss.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Spurs take on the Jazz, the Hornets look to take down the Raptors and the Cavs head to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks.

    Now for Tuesday’s ‘must watch’ game of the night.

    Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat

    Tip Time: 8 pm (est)

    Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

    Player Matchup: Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside

    It’s been seven years since the Pistons found themselves in the playoff picture. Now, with five games remaining in the season, they hold a two-game lead over the Chicago Bulls for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. They are also tied with the Indiana Pacers for the seventh seed in the standings. A win over the Heat could give them sole possession of the seventh seed and avoid that unwanted first round matchup against the Cavs.

    Detroit (41-36) has surprised a lot of people this season and a big reason for their success has been because of the play of Andre Drummond. The fourth-year center has been tremendous this season averaging 16.5 points and a career-high 14.9 rebounds per game.

    Head coach Stan Van Gundy understands where his team sits in the standings, and while most would be excited to assume the Pistons are making the playoffs, Van Gundy is still not comfortable making that statement.

    “You like being ahead, but until we’re in, I’m not the least bit comfortable,” Van Gundy told Pistons.com. “The way this season has gone? It’s up and down. And look who we have to play now.”

    The Heat (44-32) have battled through injuries all season long, and yet they still find themselves sitting fifth in the standings, but just half a game back from the Hawks for the three seed. Miami has already clinched a playoff berth, coincidentally thanks to the Pistons and their win over the Bulls on Saturday.

    Dwayne Wade (back), who has sat out the team’s past two games, is listed as a ‘game-time decision’. Wade says that he “hopes” to play on Tuesday, and with the team fighting to gain homecourt advantage through the playoffs, the Heat would love to have their leader on the floor.

    (Be sure to stay close to Hoop Ball for updates on Wade’s status before tip-off.)

    Hassan Whiteside is surprisingly still coming off the bench for the Heat, but even in a bench role, the fourth-year center has been putting up some monster numbers. Through 67 games this season, Whiteside has averaged 14.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and a career-high 3.7 blocks.

    “We really just trying to fight for home court at this time and we know every game is valuable,” Whiteside said. “Detroit got us in our last two games. We were up 20 they came back. So we know we’re gonna get them this time.”

    These two teams face each other twice in the next three days to wrap up their season series. This game may not be the highest scoring game, as both teams rank outside of the top-10 in offensive efficiency (Pistons 17th, Heat 12th) and are ranked outside of the top-15 in pace (Pistons 19th, Heat 26th). What this game will bring is grit and a playoff type of feel, easily making this our ‘must watch’ game of the night.

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