NBA Game Summary - Detroit at Miami
(Friday, March 2nd)
Final Score: Miami 85, Detroit 82
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Shaquille O'Neal had a season-high 31 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and had a season-best six assists, as Miami overcame blowing a 22-point lead before pulling out an 85-82 triumph over Detroit.
Antoine Walker added 22 points for Miami, which won its eighth in a row at home, helped by Detroit's horrendous three-point shooting.
"It was a great win for us," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Any time we keep a team down in the 80s, we got a chance to win. Even though we didn't play well in the second half, we held them to 37 percent, and we got a chance to win the game."
Tayshaun Prince had 22 points and Richard Hamilton scored 20 for the Pistons, who had a four-game winning streak broken. Antonio McDyess scored 17 and had 12 boards for Detroit, which was a paltry 1-for-16 from three-point range.
"We gave the Miami Heat too many easy shots," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "I did not think we were too aggressive."
Chauncey Billups was limited to nine points on 2-of-14 shooting for Detroit, and missed all eight of his shots from beyond the arc, including one in the closing seconds after a surprising Heat turnover.
Eddie Jones hit two free throws with 12.4 seconds left to extend Miami to an 85-80 lead, seconds before Chris Webber missed a three to try and tie it for Detroit.
Billups then made two at the foul line with eight seconds left. Prince picked off Gary Payton's poor inbounds pass and dished the ball to Billups, whose three-pointer hit off the rim. Hamilton's desperation try from inside halfcourt was off the mark as time expired, as the Heat survived in probably their best victory since losing All-Star guard Dwyane Wade to a shoulder injury.
James Posey scored 10 and had seven boards for Miami, which posted its second straight win.
The Heat raced to a 6-0 lead, capped by an O'Neal jam, and it was 20-15 Miami after one quarter.
A 17-3 spurt in the second quarter widened Miami's lead to 50-28, and the Heat held a comfortable 50-31 cushion at the half.
Eight straight Detroit points to end the third brought the visitors within 61-57 going into the fourth.
Detroit finally went ahead at 74-73 on Prince's jam with 3:14 remaining and Billups' fadeaway jumper moved the margin to three at 78-75 with 1:57 left, but the Pistons couldn't hold on.
Posey's hook shot had the Heat within one and Walker's three-pointer gave Miami the lead with 1:04 left.
Two McDyess free throws with under a minute left tied the score before O'Neal's follow jam off a miss from Walker in the lane gave the Heat the lead for good with 35.3 seconds left. Jason Williams' free throw with 24.7 left had the Heat ahead 83-80.
It was an impressive game for O'Neal, considering he's still slowed by knee problems.
"If you give it (basketball) to me and let me go to work, I'm known to do that," he said. "I am the baddest big man for my age bracket. I was the baddest at age 20 and now I'm the baddest at age 35."
Miami is 34-1 at home in February and March over the last three years...Detroit's 31 first-half points were a team low for the opening 24 minutes...This was Walker's most points since he had 22 on November 14 against Denver...Detroit's Rasheed Wallace was out with a sprained left foot...Detroit had won the last three meetings and lost for just the fourth time in the last 18 matchups.
03/03 00:07:19 ET