AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 29 (Ticker) --
While the Miami Heat kept
their cool, the Detroit Pistons lost their composure.
scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as
the Heat posted a 113-104 victory over the Pistons to take a 2-1
lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
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The defending champion Pistons recovered from blowing a
double-digit lead in the second half to capture the series
opener. However, the Heat have showed their mettle in winning
the last two games to recapture home-court advantage.
and Shaquille O'Neal
looked unstoppable in the first
half and the Heat led by as many as 10 points in the third
quarter before the Pistons rallied.
The Pistons opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run and took
an 86-81 lead when Wade went to the bench with his fifth foul
with 7:56 remaining.
However, Jones showed his leadership by scoring nine points in a
19-5 surge. The 11-year veteran started the burst with a
3-pointer with 7:43 left, added another shot from the arc and
also had a driving layup and free throw in the run.
"We kept our poise, man. We didn't lose it," Jones said.
"Eddie was huge for us," Heat center Alonzo Mourning
you've got to do is give him a little bit of daylight and he's
going to make some good things happen."
During the Heat's spurt, the Pistons lost their cool as both
and Chauncey Billups
picked up technical fouls.
"We kind of lost our poise," Pistons coach Larry Brown
"And as a result of that we dug ourselves a hole."
"We're too good of a team to have a meltdown like we had
tonight," said Richard Hamilton
, who scored 33 points to lead
the Pistons. "We've been in this situation too many times to let
anything bother us, and I think this late in the season,
Eastern Conference Finals, we can't afford to have any
When Wade returned to the game with 3:30 remaining, the Heat
held a 99-91 lead. The second-year All-Star drilled a tough
fadeaway jumper as the shot clock expired with 2:45 left, giving
Miami a 102-93 advantage.
played well off the bench for the Heat, making all
three of his 3-point shots. He hit a shot from the arc during
the decisive burst in the fourth quarter.
"Rasual did a great job of going in," Wade said. "With my five
fouls, he really went in and I'm very confident in him. This is
a very good ballclub, it's not just one or two guys."
In the fourth, the Heat also did the job at the free-throw line,
where they made 22-of-29 attempts. O'Neal, shooting just 47
percent at the line in the playoffs, made his first six attempts
in the fourth quarter and went 8-of-12 overall.
"They just went in," O'Neal said.
The physical game featured 62 fouls and 97 free throws. Miami
went 38-of-54 at the line while Detroit was 28-of-43.
Wade scored 36 points in his second straight big game and O'Neal had 24 for the top-seeded Heat, who improved to 5-0 on the road in
"We got a total team effort here," O'Neal said. "Guys have been
stepping up all year. This is the best team I've been on, by
far. We've got a lot of guys banged up, we've got a lot of
heart, we keep showing a lot of patience. We just played hard
and I'm proud of the guys."
After scoring just 16 points in the series opener, Wade has
erupted for 76 the last two games. He was at his best in the
first half in this one, scoring 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
O'Neal also looked like his superstar self in the first half,
when he scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He went just
1-of-5 from the field in the second half.
"Shaq was phenomenal, Dwyane's first half doesn't get much
better than that, and they had some guys come in and make huge
plays," Brown said.
O'Neal said his thigh is still bothering him, but he can count
on his teammates to pick up the slack.
"It's just like a bunch of worker bees protecting the king bee,
because I'm not a queen bee, I'm a king bee," O'Neal said. "Once
I get it back going, it's going to be fun."
Billups and Tayshaun Prince
added 18 points apiece for Detroit,
which hosts Game 4 on Tuesday.
"I think next game obviously we're in a position now where it's
a must-win for us," Prince said. "Obviously, we don't want to
go to Miami down 3-1."
Detroit, which used its defense as its catalyst to the 2004 NBA
title, allowed 100 points for just the second time this
postseason. Miami shot 52 percent (34-of-65).
A jumper by Udonis Haslem
with 6:26 left in the third quarter
gave the Heat their biggest lead at 73-63. But the Pistons held the
Heat to one basket the rest of the period to pull within 79-75
entering the fourth quarter.
Wallace added 13 points for the Pistons, who shot 44