Billups, Detroit shoots down Miami
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups poured in 30 points —
draining 12-of-12 from the charity stripe — and dished out seven assists, as
the Detroit Pistons defeated the Miami Heat, 106-101, in a rematch of last
season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Richard Hamilton added 25 points and dished out a season-high nine assists,
while Rasheed Wallace tallied 21 points for Detroit, which has won nine
straight games and 15 of its last 16.
Tayshaun Prince contributed 13 points and Ben Wallace grabbed 14 rebounds in
Dwyane Wade did it all with 33 points, nine assists and six boards but was a
non-factor on the defensive end late in the game because of foul trouble.
Shaquille O’Neal scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds and Jason Williams
tallied 20 points for Miami, which had its two-game winning streak snapped.
“It came down to one or two plays and we didn’t make them,” said Miami head
coach Pat Riley.
Wade’s fabulous fourth period and two championship-caliber clubs trading
punches gave the final minutes a playoff feel at the Palace.
Miami got within 93-91 on two Williams free throws and tied the game at 95-95
about a minute later on Williams’ layup.
Wade was the big part of the fourth quarter, making 6-of-6 from the floor
during the first nine minutes of the period.
Billups made a pull-up jumper from the foul line to give Detroit a 99-97
edge, but Wade drew two defenders and found Haslem for a jumper from the right
elbow to tie the game once again with 2:06 to play.
Detroit again put the ball in Billups’ hands and he converted in the paint to
regain the two-point lead. With Wade not guarding Billups because of foul
trouble, the guard penetrated into the lane on the next possession and kicked
the ball out to Rasheed Wallace, who drained a trey from the right wing to
give Detroit a 104-99 edge with 1:06 left.
Wade finally missed in the fourth period and Billups made two free throws
with 15.6 seconds left to seal the victory.
“Somebody is always going to come up big in the stretch,” Billups said. “We
never know who, but somebody will come up big.”
Detroit held to a 53-52 halftime advantage.
Detroit defeated Miami 4-3 in last season’s Eastern Conference finals…The
Pistons have won eight of the last nine meetings…Detroit is 12-1 at home and
12-1 versus the Eastern Conference…The Heat are 6-9 on the road…Miami shot
52.5 percent from the floor, but Detroit buried 7-of-18 from beyond the arc
and made 25-of-29 free throw attempts.