Sunday , Feb , 12 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Eastern Conference heavyweights square off in Miami

(Sports Network) – Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference square off
this afternoon when the Detroit Pistons wrap up a brief two-game road trip
against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Pistons lead the Central Division, as well as the entire NBA with an
amazing 41-8 mark, while the Heat top the Southeast with a 30-20 mark.

On Friday, Rasheed Wallace scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead
Detroit over the Orlando Magic, 84-73, at TD Waterhouse Centre. Richard
Hamilton added 23 points for the Pistons, who have won two straight after
dropping consecutive games for the first time this season.

Chauncey Billups had 11 points and 14 assists as Detroit shot 40.5 percent
from the field, but went a blistering 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from the three-
point line.

The trio of Wallace, Hamilton and Billups went a combined 9-of-19 from beyond
the arc.

Detroit, which will return home for three games following today’s tilt, is an
impressive 19-6 away from home this season.

Miami, meanwhile, comes in on a sour note after falling to the red-hot Dallas
Mavericks, 112-76, on Thursday at the AmericanAirlines Center. Shaquille
O’Neal scored 23 points and grabbed eight boards to pace the Heat, who have
lost two of their last three games after winning four straight.

Dwyane Wade scored 16 points and dished eight assists for Miami, which fell to
1-7 against division leaders this season.

Wade’s 16 points notched a career-high 52nd straight game in double figures.

Miami, which will close a two-game homestand against Orlando on Tuesday, is
17-6 in its arena this season.

Detroit topped the Heat earlier in the year and has won eight of nine, 11 of
13 and 12 of the last 15 meetings. The Pistons have also won three straight
and five of their last six in South Beach.