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