AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are off to a healthy start in the Eastern Conference finals.

Wade played through foul trouble to score 25 points as the rested Heat posted a 91-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons in the opener of the conference finals.

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Antoine Walker scored 17 points and Shaquille O'Neal 14 for the second-seeded Heat, who stole home-court advantage from the Pistons by taking control of the contest late in the third quarter.

"This is going to be a dogfight, and we're happy to get the first one," Heat coach Pat Riley said.

Wade was a major reason why the Heat quickly gained the upper hand against the NBA's best team during the regular season as he made 9-of-11 shots while playing just 27 minutes due to foul trouble.

In last season's conference finals against the Pistons, the Heat squandered a 3-2 series lead. However, Wade missed Game 6 with a rib injury and O'Neal played the series with a thigh injury.

But with week of rest after disposing of New Jersey in five games in the conference semifinals, the Heat came out sharp, scoring the game's first 11 points and never trailing in the first half.

Things looked like they were unraveling when Wade went to the bench with his fourth foul at the 7:14 mark of the third quarter with the game tied at 54-54.

Chauncey Billups converted a driving a layup, Tayshaun Prince made two free throws and Rasheed Wallace drained a jumper to give the Pistons their biggest lead, 60-55, with 4:18 left in the third.

However, the Heat tightened their defense and used an 11-1 surge to close the quarter with Wade on the bench to take the lead for good. Detroit missed its final nine shots of the period.

"We looked tired throughout certain parts of the game," Prince said. "We got good looks. Obviously, they didn't fall."

Veteran Gary Payton, who scored 14 points, drilled a jumper and Walker and James Posey each hit 3-pointers in the Heat's burst to close the period.

Another of the Heat's many veterans, Alonzo Mourning had two baskets and a key block that provided a 75-65 advantage with 6:31 remaining.

"We've been here before," Payton said. "We're at the end of our careers, but we know what to do. I've been here for 16 years, 'Zo has been for 14. We know how to make plays."

Wade then helped put the game out of reach, hitting a jumper and three free throws for an 80-67 cushion 4:44 to play.

"Games are called different," Wade said. "I'm just going to continue to be aggressive, be a little smarter, but at the same time continue to be aggressive."

In the first quarter, Wade also led a surge, making his first six shots and scoring 13 points in the quarter that ended with Miami holding a 33-25 lead. The Heat shot 75 percent (15-of-20) in the period.

"He started 6-for-6, and he was obviously very fresh," Riley said of Wade. "We usually go to Shaq early, but Dwyane knows when to take over if he's feeling it."

Hamilton scored 22 points, Billups 19 and Prince 16 for the Pistons, who struggled most of the way offensively as they shot just 38 percent (31-of-82). Detroit was playing two days after beating Cleveland in Game 7.

"Are we tired? Yeah, but everybody is at this point," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We're not going to use that as an excuse. We just couldn't sustain our runs. Our energy was not at all consistent."

Detroit hosts Game 2 on Thursday.

"We just gotta come out and play hard, gotta come out and execute and do what we do and not get caught up in playing their style of game, whether it's Game 2, 3, 4, whatever," said Pistons center Ben Wallace, who grabbed 14 rebounds. "If we come out and play the way they want to play, then we don't have a chance."