AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 26 (Ticker) -- Richard Hamilton worked his way open to close the Miami Heat's run of success against the Eastern Conference.

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Hamilton shook free of Eddie Jones along the baseline and scored inside with 1.3 seconds remaining as the Detroit Pistons posted a 78-77 victory over the Heat, who lost their first conference game of the season.

"That's the kind of basketball we used to play," said Pistons coach Larry Brown, who returned to the bench after missing two games earlier this week while he continues to recover from hip surgery. "Neither team shot the ball well, but we played good defense and then we made a great play at the end to win it."

Expected to be one of the challengers to the Pistons in the weak Eastern Conference, the Heat hung tough with the defending champions for the entire night but were unable to close things out.

"It was a frustrating night both ways," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I don't have a lot of gripes with our guys. We fought hard and we had chances. That's all you can ask for."

After Rasual Butler drained a jumper with seven seconds remaining to give the Heat a 77-76 lead, the Pistons called timeout. They retained possession after a loose ball went out of bounds off a Miami player.

Following another timeout, Tayshaun Prince inbounded from along the left baseline and found Hamilton, who scored 24 points, underneath for the go-ahead basket.

"We didn't have any timeouts left, so I wanted to get the ball to the first player who got open," Prince said. "Rip made a great play."

Hamilton banked his shot off the glass to beat Shaquille O'Neal.

"I told Tay that it wasn't going to be open early, it would only be open late," Hamilton said. "I knew I could get the shot over Eddie, but I knew Shaq would be coming, so I played it off the board. That way, if he blocked it, it was goaltending."

Butler's long jumper from the left side as time expired barely grazed the rim. Rasheed Wallace grabbed the ball as it fell off the rim, prompting an argument from the Heat, who thought goaltending should have been called.

O'Neal collected 24 points and 17 rebounds for the Heat, who had been 8-0 against teams from the East.

Perhaps showing his frustration from having to deal with a bevy of defenders, O'Neal was upset at the officiating.

"There was a lot of questionable calls," said O'Neal, who was called for traveling with 2:13 left. "I never travel."

Without suspended All-Star center Ben Wallace, the Pistons used Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Elden Campbell, Derrick Coleman and even Darko Milicic on O'Neal at times. They combined for 13 fouls and O'Neal made half his 16 free throws.

Chauncey Billups scored 15 points with seven assists for Detroit (6-6), which returned to the .500 mark. The Pistons are 2-4 without Ben Wallace, including 2-2 during the first four games of his six-game suspension.

Dwyane Wade added 17 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter and Udonis Haslem added 15 and eight rebounds for the Heat, who managed just one basket over the final 4:40.

"The way we played tonight is how we need to play," Prince said. "Our defense kept us in the game."