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Tuesday's Heat News: Can Miami make playoffs without Waiters?

Heat trying to overcome Dion Waiters' absence as showdown with playoff implications vs. Pistons looms: There’s a reason Rick Carlisle called the Heat “one of the best ball movement drive and kicking teams that I’ve seen in 33 years in this league.” Actually, there are two reasons -- guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. The Heat’s backcourt duo are the leaders of an offensive attack that relies on the drive-and-kick concept, as Miami leads the NBA with 35.2 drives to the basket per game this season. -- The Palm Beach Post

Heat center Hassan Whiteside still dealing with effects of stitched-up hand laceration: Based on Hassan Whiteside’s stats over the past few games, it doesn’t seem like his lacerated right hand is bothering him much. In the two games the Heat’s center has played with the gash, he’s averaging 17.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. -- The Palm Beach Post

What once seemed preposterous is now true: Can the Miami Heat hang on without Dion Waiters?: Dion Waiters has seldom seemed more valuable to the Miami Heat than he does right now, in dress clothes, nursing a sprained left ankle, not playing. It is this Waiters whose benefit to the team appears so indispensable that one wonders if, in his absence, club president Pat Riley may be reevaluating the Heat's plans for Waiters and its commitment to him as he becomes a free agent this coming summer. -- The Miami Herald

Erik Spoelstra enjoying process of Miami Heat’s turnaround, knows work remains: Since his team turned things around after an 11-30 start, Erik Spoelstra gets asked similar questions as the Miami Heat move from town to town. One question: How did the Heat go from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings to a playoff spot so quickly? -- The Miami Herald

How much do Miami Heat and Dragic miss Waiters?: In the 23 games he has played since the Heat began winning a lot in mid-January, Dion Waiters has made a compelling case for the organization to re-sign him summer. He also has made a compelling case in the games he hasn’t played. Waiters, who remains out indefinitely with a sprained ankle, has had a dramatic impact on the Heat’s record. Miami is 27-20 when he plays. The Heat is 8-18 when he doesn’t. -- The Miami Herald

Heat reach make-or-break moment heading into Pistons game: Hassan Whiteside was correct, even if it doesn't exactly feel that way at the moment. "We can control our destiny," the shot-blocking center said as the Miami Heat turned their attention to Tuesday night's game against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills. And he is correct. Win their final nine games, and the Heat are in the NBA playoffs. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Frank Martin has Udonis Haslem feeling his own March Madness: For Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, this was not about Gamecocks or Gators or any of those logos during the East Regional championship Sunday at the NCAA Tournament. This was about a mentor ascending to cut down the nets at Madison Square Garden. This was about Miami High. This was about Frank Martin. The fact that Martin has South Carolina headed to the Final Four is ancillary to Haslem. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel