Wednesday , Mar , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Billups helps Pistons beat Heat

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups scored 24 points and
dished out 10 assists to lead the Detroit Pistons over the Miami Heat, 82-73,
at the Palace.

Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince each had 17 points for Detroit, which
overcame a 12-point second half deficit, a season-low 34.9 percent shooting
and a season-worst 35-point first half to clinch the Central Division crown
with 15 games remaining. No other player scored in double-figures for the
Pistons, who have won three in a row.

Shaquille O’Neal scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Miami, which has
dropped two straight after winning five in a row. Dwyane Wade was held to just
13 points and had nine assists for the Heat, who began to see things fall
apart in the third quarter.

With Miami ahead by 12 points, 49-37, Detroit went on a 20-7 run to go in
front 57-56. Hamilton had nine points and Billups seven during the surge.

Wade briefly gave the Heat the lead back with a bucket, but Detroit scored the
three of the final four points of the quarter to go into the fourth ahead

Miami went back ahead 64-62 with a 5-2 run to begin the final 12 minutes, but
the Pistons quickly regained control. Prince and Antonio McDyess each had six
points during a 16-4 burst, which was capped by a Rasheed Wallace bucket with
just under 1 1/2 minutes to play.

Miami only got within eight points the rest of the way.

McDyess ended with nine points and six boards for Detroit, which improved to
30-2 at the Palace this season.

Antoine Walker had 15 points for the Heat, who lost back-up center Alonzo
Mourning to a calf injury in the second quarter.

After Mourning gave the Heat a 21-19 lead with a bucket at the end of the
first quarter, Miami began to build a lead in the second. Jason Williams ended
a 14-4 run to start the second and gave the Heat a 35-23 lead with a little
more than half the stanza to play.

Detroit only got within eight points the rest of the half and went into the
break down 43-35.

Miami continued to hold the advantage in the early stages of the third, going
ahead by as many as 12 points, 49-37, on an O’Neal basket just over three
minutes into the frame.

Game Notes

Miami fell to 19-16 on the road…Detroit has win nine of 11 against the
Heat…Miami shot 37.8 percent from the floor…The Heat went only 10-of-14
from the free throw line…Detroit hit 18-of-23 from the charity stripe.