Wallace, Prince Lead Pistons Past Heat
Detroit 95, Miami 82
MIAMI, April 6 (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons gave the Miami Heat a taste of what they could be up against in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
All-Star Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points apiece and Richard Hamilton added 19 as the Pistons posted a 95-82 victory over the Heat to capture three of the four meetings this season.
Detroit, which lost its previous game in Miami (100-98) when Dwyane Wade scored his team's final 17 points on Feb. 12, set a franchise record with its 27th road victory of the season.
"We knew last time (here) we had a 10-point lead (in the fourth) and D-Wade got hot and we didn't want that to happen again," Hamilton said.
Meanwhile, the Heat (49-26) now are just 2 1/2 games ahead of the surging New Jersey Nets, who defeated the Charlotte Bobcats, 113-102, earlier Thursday.
"We got New Jersey one step closer to catching us as the second seed," Miami forward Antoine Walker said. "We have to finish up these last eight games on a strong note."
If Miami holds onto the second seed and wins two playoff series, it could face Detroit in the Eastern Finals.
"It would definitely be fun," Hamilton said. "Everytime we play Miami. ... the tension, the excitement, everything's there. In our minds they're going to be there, so we just have to find a way to make sure we're there."
Detroit held a 70-61 advantage after three quarters before Miami's bench sparked a 10-0 surge capped by Shandon Anderson's layup that cut the deficit to 77-75 with 6:56 to go.
Down the stretch, the Pistons seized control with a 10-1 run. Following a dunk by Shaquille O'Neal with 4:03 left that narrowed the gap to 81-79, Wallace and Chauncey Billups hit 3-pointers around a Wade free throw for a 87-80 edge just over a minute later. Prince capped the burst with a jumper with just 68 seconds left.
Wallace and Prince both grabbed eight rebounds and Billups had 14 points and nine assists for Detroit, which shot 5-of-12 from the arc.
"We take a lot of pride in being a good road team," Billups said. "They were undermanned without a couple of their starters, so we tried to push the tempo to see if we could get easy baskets in transition and we were able to do that."
Miami, which is now 2-12 against the NBA's division leaders this year, was playing without starting guard Jason Williams, starting forward James Posey and backup center Alonzo Mourning.
Wade scored 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting and fellow All-Star O'Neal added 28 and seven boards for Miami, which misfired on all 10 attempts from long distance.
"We are not going to use that as an excuse," said Wade of the club's injury situation. "We gave ourselves a chance tonight on our home floor. They made the plays. When it was (79-70) they made the plays that the best teams in the NBA make to win ballgames."
Miami failed to join New Jersey, Washington and Utah as the only teams that have beaten the Pistons twice this season.