Detroit 4, Miami 2:
The Heat need a full-strength Shaq to neutralize the best starting lineup in the world. The Pistons, meanwhile, still have two Wallaces to make Shaq work in one-on-one coverage. Which means Dwyane Wade will have to work much harder for his points than he did against the Nets and Wiz.
ELIAS SAYS ...
Only five players on Miami's active playoff roster have ever appeared in a postseason game beyond the second round of the playoffs: Shandon Anderson, Eddie Jones, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O'Neal and Steve Smith.
These are the defending champs because defense is important to them and they play unselfishly at both ends. They have no individual star on offense, move the ball from side to side and make the extra pass. But is their second unit good enough this year?
In two games with Shaquille O'Neal on the floor, the Heat beat the Pistons by 11 once and lost on a last-second shot in the other meeting. With Dwyane Wade reaching new heights, Miami knows it can compete with the champs. But will Shaq be ready?