Miami was able to stay a full game ahead of Chicago for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race after taking down Detroit 97-96 on Tuesday night. The Heat now sit with a 36-38 overall record. While they can easily lose their grip on the position, a better way to look at things would be that a potential fifth seed is just two games away -- Atlanta and Milwaukee currently are tied for that spot. On the flipside, the Pistons are now 34-41 overall and are 2.5 games out of eighth place. They're also currently sliding on a five-game losing streak.

Heat nearly give up nine-point lead in final quarter

Miami ended the night shooting 45.6 percent from the field, but the most important shot came from center Hassan Whiteside (16.9 ppg, 14.1 rpg). Despite suffering a huge gash on his right hand a week ago, and he was able to deliver the final shot at the buzzer. He finished with 17 points on an efficient 7-of-13 from the field, and he was one rebound away from getting a double-double (he had nine boards). Ultimately, he saved the Heat after they blew a nine-point lead as they entered the fourth quarter.

Point guard Goran Dragic (20.1 ppg, 5.9 apg) led the Heat with 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He converted 9-of-13 free throw attempts and featured a positive passing ratio of four assists to one turnover.

Pistons' playoff hopes continue to dwindle

It's not looking good for Detroit fans that are hoping to see their squad reach the playoffs. The loss puts them in 10th place and could ultimately be the dagger for them. They weren't able to take advantage of a 51-44 rebounding advantage, most of that coming on the offensive side of the ball.

Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (14.1 ppg) led the Pistons with 25 total points. It was a tremendous bounceback after struggling by his standards with an 8.3-point average in his last three games. Both Ish Smith (8.6 ppg, 5 apg) and Tobias Harris (16.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg) hit seven field goals to finish with 19 points.

Smith got some action at the free throw line while Harris was able to drain 4-of-8 3-pointers.

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