Pistons seek first road win against shorthanded Heat

One team has the worst record in the NBA, and the other squad barely has the minimum eight players required by the league to play a game.That, in a nutshell, is the matchup for Saturday night, when the Detroit Pistons are set to visit the Miami Heat.The Pistons, just 2-9 overall and 0-4 on the road, have at least one positive distinction: They have not lost a single player this season due to COVID-19 or contact tracing. Friday’s game was postponed, but that’s because Detroit’s would-be opponent, the Washington Wizards, did not have enough players.Meanwhile, Miami, which made it to the NBA Finals last year before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, has dropped two straight games, owns a sub-.500 record (4-6) and is facing a myriad of personnel problems.For starters, Meyers Leonard has been out the past week due to a shoulder injury. In addition, eight players have missed Miami’s past two games due to COVID concerns: starters Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo as well as reserves Goran Dragic, Avery Bradley, Kendrick Nunn, Maurice Harkless, Udonis Haslem and KZ Okpala.Then, in Miami’s 125-108 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, Heat starting guard Tyler Herro played 32 minutes before exiting due to back spasms.That left the Heat with just one full-time starter — Duncan Robinson — healthy and available, a massive concern for their prospective matchup against Detroit.Of the remaining players Miami is expected to have ready to face Detroit, the list includes veterans such as Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk. But the Heat are also going with some highly inexperienced players such as Chris Silva (49 career NBA games), Gabe Vincent (12 games), Precious Achiuwa (10) and Max Strus (five).Not that any of this seems to bother Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who said “no excuses” is a team mantra.