Pistons edge Heat, extend winning streak to seven
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Richard Hamilton scored a game-high 24 points to
lead the Detroit Pistons to an 87-85 victory over the Miami Heat in a rematch
of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals at American Airlines Arena.
Tayshaun Prince had 12 points and eight rebounds and Chauncey Billups netted
11 and dished out seven assists for the Pistons, who have won seven straight
contests. Ronald Murray added 10 points in the win.
“He (Hamilton) hit some big shots,” said Rasheed Wallace. He hit some shots
down the stretch. He remained consistent throughout the evening. It’s good
that he can go in and knock that shot down with a couple of plays that we call
Dwyane Wade poured in 21 points on 5-of-23 shooting and added eight assists
while Udonis Haslem chipped in 20 points and 10 boards for the Heat, who have
lost four of their last six games.
“We had a chance to win the game, but I thought the biggest problem that we
had is that we gave a team air space that we don’t want to give air space,”
said Miami head coach Pat Riley. “I think they had four threes, and they were
timely threes in the fourth quarter. We did not play good offense. We did not
shoot the ball well offensively in the second half, but we still had a chance
to win if we would have defended just a little bit harder. It was a tough
Alonzo Mourning’s layup put the Heat back on top 72-71 with 7:50 to play, but
Detroit used a 13-4 burst, including a pair of threes from Billups, to take
its biggest lead of the night at 84-76.
Miami refused to give up and pulled within a point with a 9-2 run, 86-85,
capped by James Posey’s three-pointer with 1:48 remaining.
Billups had his shot blocked by Wade with the shot clock running down, but
Wade’s shooting woes continued when his shot barely glanced off the front of
the rim before going out of bounds with 1.2 ticks on the clock.
Hamilton was fouled with .2 seconds left and drained the first free throw
before quickly throwing the ball towards the net. However, referee Joey
Crawford stepped in and gave the ball back to Hamilton, who then purposely
missed the second to run out the clock.
“Everybody was ready on the lane lines,” said Crawford. “He just threw it up
and I killed it. I said ‘let’s go, back on the line.’ I’ve never saw that in
30 years. Nobody was ready in the lane. They were just standing there getting
back and forth and he just fired the ball up. He put everybody at a
disadvantage and I said ‘uh nah you’re not taking advantage of the rule, let’s
go we’re playing it again.'”
The Heat jumped out to an early 11-4 lead, capped by Mourning’s slam dunk and
held a 25-18 margin after the opening 12 minutes of play.
Wright’s tip-in extended the advantage to 31-21, but the Pistons came back
with eight unanswered points, highlighted by Murray’s three-point play,
narrowing the gap to 31-29.
Miami countered with a 12-4 run, including treys from Posey and Jason Kapono,
pushing the lead to 43-33.
Detroit, though, tallied nine of the final 11 points of the quarter to pull
within 45-42 at the half.
Trailing 55-49, the Pistons reeled off a 15-5 surge, including six points from
Hamilton, to take a 64-60 lead. Detroit took a 66-64 margin into the final
Detroit shot 45 percent from the floor while the Heat connected on 41 percent
of their shots from the field, including 6-of-11 from long distance…Mourning
finished with 10 points and six rebounds…The Pistons have won three straight
and 10 of the last 12 regular-season meetings…Miami’s Dorell Wright ended
the night with 11 points and seven boards…Posey returned after missing the
last five games with a left calf strain.