Thursday , May , 25 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons try to even East finals against Heat

(Sports Network) – The Miami Heat attempt to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern
Conference finals, as they visit the Detroit Pistons tonight at The Palace of
Auburn Hills for Game 2 of the set.

Game 3 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Saturday at
AmericanAirlines Arena.

In Game 1, Dwyane Wade made the most of his limited time on the floor with 25
points, and No. 2 Miami knocked off the top-seeded Pistons, 91-86, on Tuesday
at The Palace.

Wade played less than 27 minutes, but shot 9-of-11 from the field and went 7-
of-9 at the foul line. His minutes were limited after being charged with three
fouls in the first half. Veteran Antoine Walker picked up the scoring slack
with 17 points in Game 1’s victory.

Shaquille O’Neal finished with 14 points and eight boards, while Gary Payton
netted 14 for Miami, which shot 56.3 percent from the field and held Detroit
to 37.8 percent from the floor.

Richard Hamilton ended with 22 points in the loss for Detroit, while Chauncey
Billups scored 19 and Tayshaun Prince contributed 16 points for the Pistons,
who struggled from beyond the arc (5-for-21). Rasheed Wallace finished with
just seven points in defeat.

Miami has won five straight Game 2s in the postseason, while the Pistons have
won two straight Game 2s.

This is a rematch of last year’s conference finals. Detroit came back from a
3-2 deficit to knock off Miami in seven games. The Pistons won Game 7, 88-82,
on the road.

These clubs are meeting for the third time overall in the postseason. The
Heat swept the Pistons, 3-0, in the first round of the 2000 playoffs.

Detroit, which knocked off the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games
during the opening round of the playoffs, survived a big scare from No. 4
Cleveland in the conference semifinals. The Pistons fought back from a 3-2
deficit and eventually defeated LeBron James and the Cavaliers in seven tough

The Pistons, who defeated Shaq and the Lakers in five games in the 2004 NBA
Finals, have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals nine times in
franchise history. They played Boston in 1987 and 1988, Chicago in 1989, 1990
and 1991, New Jersey in 2003, Indiana in 2004 and Miami last year. Detroit is
5-3 in this round.

Detroit, which lost to San Antonio in seven games in the 2005 NBA Finals, is
6-2 at home in this year’s playoffs.

The Heat are appearing in the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in
franchise history. They lost in seven games to Detroit last year and were
ousted in five by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1997.

Miami’s road to the East finals started with a six-game series victory over
the seventh-seeded Bulls. In the conference semifinals, the Heat bounced back
from a loss at home in Game 1 to No. 3 New Jersey and eliminated Jason Kidd
and the Nets in five contests.

The Heat are 4-2 as the visitor in this year’s postseason.

During the regular season, the Pistons won three of four meetings between the
squads. Detroit won a pair at The Palace of Auburn Hills, while the clubs
split two contests in Miami.