Sunday , Apr , 01 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Heat, Pistons battle at The Palace

(Sports Network) – The Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat renew their rivalry
this afternoon, as they square off at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The Pistons are in first place in the Central Division and own the top seed in
the Eastern Conference playoff race, while Miami is one-half game ahead of the
second place Washington Wizards in the Southeast and sits in the fourth spot
in the East.

Detroit and Miami have been the participants in the last two Eastern
Conference finals. The Heat knocked out the Pistons in six games during last
year’s conference finals, while Detroit defeated Miami in seven games in the
2005 East finals.

The Pistons, who are 2 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland, wrap up a brief two-game
homestand. On Friday, Chauncey Billups posted 32 points and 14 assists to lead
Detroit to a 110-105 win over the New Jersey Nets at The Palace of Auburn
Hills.

Rasheed Wallace scored 22 points for the Pistons, who have won three of their
last four games overall. Antonio McDyess ended with 18 points, while Tayshaun
Prince netted 15, grabbed eight boards and dished out a career-high nine
assists.

Pistons leading scorer Richard Hamilton missed his fourth consecutive game
against the Nets with the flu, while Chris Webber returned from the same
ailment to notch six points and seven boards. Hamilton is questionable for
today’s game.

Detroit is 22-13 as the host this season. The Pistons will visit the Indiana
Pacers on Tuesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Miami concludes a three-game road trip. Udonis Haslem paced a balanced Heat
attack with 19 points and 14 rebounds as Miami downed the Minnesota
Timberwolves, 92-77, on Friday at the Target Center.

Eddie Jones added 18 points and six rebounds for the Heat, while James Posey
had a great floor game with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Jason
Williams and All-Star Shaquille O’Neal both finished with 15 points in the
victory.

The Heat, who lost to Toronto in the opener of the current swing, are 15-21 as
the visitor this season. They return home to host Chris Bosh and the Raptors
on Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

This is the third and final time the teams will meet in the regular season, as
the clubs split a pair of contests in Miami.

Miami has lost two straight and seven of its last eight at Detroit. The
Pistons have won five of the last seven contests in the series.

DET MIA