AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- With the game on the line, LeBron James looked as calm as could be while shooting his free throws.
The Miami star made six in a row in the final 1:19, lifting the
Heat to a 101-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday
night. James finished with 32 points, and Miami recovered after
blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"We've got to close out games," James said. "We know we're
going to get the best shot from everybody. To be able to be down
late in the game and then come back and win, it was good stuff for
The Heat trailed 98-95 after a 3-pointer by Detroit's Jonas
Jerebko, but James made two free throws to cut the deficit to one
with 1:19 left. After Damien Wilkins fumbled the ball out of bounds
for the Pistons, James drove straight at Austin Daye, drawing
another foul and putting Miami up 99-98.
"I've just got to go up and make them," James said. "When you
get the opportunity, you go up and make them, and then you live
with the results."
James made two more with 9.4 seconds remaining after Detroit's
Greg Monroe missed inside. Daye traveled in the final seconds while
trying to get a 3-point attempt off.
Chris Bosh hit his first seven shots and finished with 27 points
for Miami -- which was without Dwyane Wade, who sat out because of a
right ankle injury.
Daye scored a career-high 28 points for the Pistons. He'd scored
only 45 points in 13 games before Wednesday.
James went 13 of 14 from the free throw line after entering the
game shooting 73 percent. He had a 20-for-37 stretch from the line
over three games earlier this month, including an ugly 9-for-17
effort against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Pistons trailed 90-80 in the fourth quarter before rallying
with a 12-0 run. They took the lead when rookie Brandon Knight made
a midrange shot after James nearly intercepted a crosscourt pass to
"I thought our guys showed great fight, spirit and resolve,"
Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. "You have to look at the fight
for the whole game. If we can establish this as part of our DNA,
we'll put ourselves in position to win a lot of games, but it can't
be just Miami."
Bosh answered with five straight points to put the Heat up
95-92, but Monroe scored inside while being fouled and his free
throw tied the game. After a miss by Shane Battier, Jerebko made an
open 3-pointer from near the top of the key to give Detroit a 98-95
After a Miami timeout, Daye poked the ball away from James, and
Knight came up with it and was fouled. But he missed both free
throws, and Detroit wouldn't score again.
Wade missed his sixth consecutive game. Heat coach Erik
Spoelstra says he is still day-to-day.
Detroit's Tayshaun Prince missed the game because of a family
matter, and guard Ben Gordon was out with a sore shoulder.
Bosh handled most of the scoring early, going 6 for 6 in the
first quarter with a 3-pointer.
At one point, Miami led 14-9 and Bosh had 13 points. He hurt the
Pistons from the perimeter and inside, and the Heat led 24-17 after
Daye did his best to respond for Detroit, scoring 18 points in
the second quarter. Detroit moved the ball well on offense, and
Daye made four 3-pointers in the period.
"My teammates deserve a lot of the credit. We were doing a
great job of moving the ball and drawing guys out of position, and
that meant I got a lot of open shots," Daye said.
Miami led by as many as 11 in the second but had to settle for a
56-50 halftime lead after Daye's 12-footer at the buzzer.
At the end of the third quarter, it was James' turn to make a
last-second shot. His 3-pointer gave Miami an 80-74 lead.
The Heat snapped a three-game skid on the road.
"We're getting there," Battier said. "We haven't played well
the last week and a half. We get a big boost to our team with
Dwyane coming back off injury. Hopefully we can find our stride."
Game notesDaye's previous career high was 22 points. ... Michigan
QB Denard Robinson was at the game and came onto the court to throw
a football into various sections of the crowd during a break in the
action in the first half. Then Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford
did the same from his seat near the court.
- Dick Bavetta
- Kevin Cutler
- Bennie Adams