Miami wins series 4-2 (Game 5 of 6)

Miami wins series 4-2

Game 1: Tuesday, May 23rd
Game 2: Thursday, May 25th
Game 3: Saturday, May 27th
Game 4: Monday, May 29th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 31st
Game 6: Friday, June 2nd

Heat 78

(52-30, 21-20 away)

Pistons 91

(64-18, 37-4 home)

8:00 PM ET, May 31, 2006

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

1 2 3 4 T
MIA 20 23 22 1378
DET 25 22 26 1891

Top Performers

Miami: D. Wade 23 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

Detroit: T. Prince 29 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Heat can eliminate Pistons, advance to NBA Finals for first time

Miami at Detroit 8:00 pm EDT Eastern Conference finals Heat lead, 3-1

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- It is time for the Miami Heat to go for the kill.

The Heat can eliminate the floundering Detroit Pistons and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history Wednesday when the teams meet in Game Five of the Eastern Conference finals.

Miami holds a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series following Monday's 89-78 triumph over Detroit in Game Four. The hero once again was Dwyane Wade, who scored 31 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.

The third-year superstar made 15-of-19 free throws and added six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a pair of blocks. He is averaging 30.8 points and shooting a blistering 70 percent (41-of-59) in the series.

"We're on the right page but we still have a lot of basketball left," Wade said. "I'm proud of my guys, but I know they understand that we've still got to finish this series up."

Shaquille O'Neal also came up with a stellar effort Monday, collecting 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and adding a team-high nine rebounds. Udonis Haslem chipped in 16 points for the second-seeded Heat, who shot nearly 55 percent and outscored the top-seeded Pistons at the foul line, 28-12.

Detroit rallied from a 3-2 series deficit against Miami in last season's conference finals and bounced back from a similar hole in this year's conference semifinals against Cleveland.

However, the Pistons seem to have lost their desire and team chemistry over the last two weeks as their quest for a third straight trip to the NBA Finals seems destined to come to an end.

"We wanted to take a game in Miami but we couldn't get it done," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "Every game becomes like an NCAA Tournament game now. But strange things happen. One play can change a game; one play can change a series."

Tayshaun Prince scored 15 points in Game Four to lead Detroit, which shot only 39 percent for the contest and tallied 22 points or fewer in every quarter. Chauncey Billups added 14 points and Rasheed Wallace 12 for the Pistons, who have rallied from 2-1 or 3-2 series deficits five times in the past four postseasons.

"We've got a lot of fight in us," Billups said. "We've been down 3-1 before but not against a team as great as Miami. But were going home, we're a great home team and we have to win one game. If we don't focus on that one game, the season will be over."

Detroit, which is just 2-5 on the road in the playoffs, hopes to return to Miami for Game Six on Friday.

If the Heat advance to the NBA Finals, they will await the winner of the series between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.