AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons got back to their
gritty, defensive ways to hand Miami its first loss against an
Eastern Conference opponent.
Richard Hamilton caught an inbounds pass under the basket and
banked in a short shot with 1.3 seconds left to give Detroit a
78-77 win over the Heat on Friday night.
Miami fell to 8-1 against the East, even though it limited
Detroit to 32.5 percent shooting.
Despite their many rim-clanging shots, the defending NBA
champions won because they held Miami to 37.5 percent shooting,
slowed down Dwyane Wade and forced Shaquille O'Neal to defer to
teammates toward the end of the game.
"That's the kind of basketball we used to play," Pistons coach
Larry Brown said.
Hamilton's game-winning shot was lofted past O'Neal and Eddie
Jones on an across-the-lane pass from Tayshaun Prince.
"I knew I could get it over Eddie, but I was worried about
Shaq, so I played it off the glass," Hamilton said. "That way if
he blocked it, it was goaltending."
That's exactly the call the Heat wanted at the end of the game.
Udonis Haslem, who made a go-ahead basket with 7.3 seconds to
go, missed a long, fadeaway jumper at the buzzer.
The Heat left the court angry at the officials after Rasheed
Wallace raised a hand near the basket and appeared to touch the
final shot as it hit the front of the rim.
"There were a lot of questionable calls, like the traveling,"
said O'Neal, referring to a call against him with 2:13 left. "I
Hamilton led the Pistons with 24 points, making all 10 of his
free throw attempts. Chauncey Billups added 15. The Pistons are
.500 this season and 2-2 since their brawl with the Indiana Pacers
a week ago.
With beefed-up security, a fan near midcourt was calmly escorted
away from the floor after heckling the Heat early in the fourth
quarter. He was removed from the arena, Pistons CEO Tom Wilson
"If you use profanity or get into family insults or sexual
preferences, you're over the line and you will be ejected," Wilson
Heat senior director of team security David Holcombe refused
comment after the game.
A few Miami players were asked if they heard what the fan said,
and all said they didn't.
"I don't hear none of it and I'm programmed to handle it,"
O'Neal said. "Most people who heckle are cowards. If I'm on the
street with no witnesses, ain't nobody going to heckle me."
Earlier, the crowd was so tame and the game so boring that one
fan was shown on the scoreboard taking a nap.
Detroit's Ben Wallace missed his fourth game as part of a
six-game suspension for his part in the infamous melee.
"It's not something we want to get used to," Hamilton said.
"But we all know we have to pick it up at the defensive end when
he is out."
O'Neal had 24 points and 17 rebounds for the Heat, and Wade had
17 points on 6-of-17 shooting and six assists before fouling out
with 1:51 left. Haslem added 15 points one game after scoring a
"We know we have to get through them if we want to get where we
want to go," Haslem said. "To be the best, you've got to beat the
Miami led 24-18 after the first, the 10th straight game the
Pistons trailed following the opening quarter.
Detroit was ahead 42-40 at halftime following a 15-6 run. The
Pistons started the fourth quarter with a 62-56 lead.
When Brown was asked if rookie Carlos Delfino, out with a
bruised knee, would need a couple of practices before playing
again, he said: "Carlos needs to understand the difference between
being hurt and injured." ... Faces in the crowd included Tigers
star Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez and game-show host Chuck Woolery, who
chatted with former boxer Tommy Hearns at halftime. ... The Pistons
start a five-game road trip Saturday at Milwaukee. ... Hamilton is
30-for-30 at the line in Detroit's last two home games.
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