Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 3)

Series starts 11/30

Game 1: Thursday, November 30th
Game 2: Friday, March 2nd
Game 3: Sunday, April 1st

Pistons 82

(36-20, 17-10 away)

Heat 85

(29-29, 17-10 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:00 PM ET, March 2, 2007

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    DET 15 16 26 2582
    MIA 20 30 11 2485

    Top Performers

    Det: T. Prince 22 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mia: S. O'Neal 31 Pts, 15 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

    No Wade, no problem: Shaq leads Heat past Pistons 

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- Shaquille O'Neal helped the Miami Heat build a 22-point lead. And when they blew it, he delivered the go-ahead dunk in the final minute to beat the Detroit Pistons.

    Elias Says
    Shaquille O'Neal
    Shaquille O'Neal scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in Miami's victory over Detroit. It was the 105th game of 30 points and 15 rebounds in O'Neal's career, by far the most among active players. Shaq's teams are a whopping 79-26 (.752) in those 105 games.

    •  Elias Says

    O'Neal had 31 points and 15 rebounds, both season highs, and the Heat earned their most impressive win yet since losing Dwyane Wade, edging Detroit 85-82 Friday night.

    "Dwyane was our first option because of the things he could do, but he's not here now," O'Neal said. "So now it's back to me being the first option."

    The Pistons rallied from a 50-28 deficit to take their first lead with 3:14 left. But O'Neal's dunk with 36 seconds to go put the Heat ahead to stay, 82-80.

    Detroit missed three 3-point tries in the final 20 seconds that would have tied the game, including one by Chauncey Billups, who finished 2-for-14 from the field. He missed 11 consecutive shots before scoring his first basket with 5 minutes left.

    Antoine Walker scored 22 points for Miami. Tayshaun Prince had 22 and Richard Hamilton 20 for the Pistons, who failed to overcome a season-low 31 points in the first half.

    "We never had any energy at all in the first half," Prince said.

    The Heat improved to 3-2 since Wade was sidelined with a dislocated left shoulder. Detroit's Rasheed Wallace missed the game because a sprained left foot.

    By taking the rematch of last year's Eastern Conference finals, the Heat extended their season-high home winning streak to eight games, while ending Detroit's four-game winning streak.

    O'Neal shot 12-for-16, went 7-for-14 at the line and had six assists.

    "If he gets the ball enough, he's going to score," Billups said. "There's still nobody who can guard him. You have to send two or three guys after him."

    When the Pistons tried to defend O'Neal one-on-one, he used spin moves to get to the rim.

    "I take it personal when people don't double me," he said. "It's against my religion not to double me. It upsets me. It makes me think they're saying to themselves I don't have it anymore."

    The Pistons shot only 38 percent, but they tied the game at 80 with 56 seconds left when Antonio McDyess made two free throws. Walker then drove the lane, and when his left-handed hook missed, O'Neal was there with the dunk follow.

    After Jason Williams made one of two free throws for Miami, Chris Webber threw up an airball on a 3-point try that would have tied the game. The Pistons had one more chance when Prince intercepted an inbounds pass with 8 seconds left, but they missed two desperation 3-point tries.

    "It would have been a nightmare," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "But it didn't happen. Any time you keep a team in the 80s, you have a chance to win, even though we didn't play well in the second half."

    Playing for the first time since Sunday, the Pistons looked sluggish in the first half, which allowed O'Neal to dominate. During one stretch of 10 possessions over 5 1/2 minutes, he had a hand in eight scores, helping the Heat take a 50-28 lead.

    The sequence started with three quick baskets by O'Neal, two on dunks following spin moves. Then he slipped an interior pass to Antoine Walker for a dunk that produced a three-point play.

    Next, O'Neal grabbed an offensive rebound and threw a no-look bounce pass to Gary Payton breaking to the basket for a layup. Then O'Neal banked in a hook shot. On the next possession he earned another assist, hitting Walker for a 3-pointer to cap a 15-3 spurt.

    O'Neal ran the court twice early, thundering up the middle on fast breaks, and both times the Heat scored. He was force on defense, too. The first time Webber challenged him inside, the shot was blocked, starting a fast break that ended with a layup by Eddie Jones.

    "It's hard to keep a lead against a team like that, especially if you make as many mistakes as we did," O'Neal said. "But we stuck in there and beat a good Detroit team."

    Game notes

    The Pistons fell to 15-5 since signing Webber. ... Illness limited F Udonis Haslem to 14 minutes. He's the only Heat player to start every game. ... Williams came into the game with an assist-turnover ratio of 3.6:1. ... Detroit came into the game averaging 12.3 turnovers, lowest in the league.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 85
    FGM-FGA 30-80 (.375) 34-74 (.459)
    3PM-3PA 1-16 (.063) 4-24 (.167)
    FTM-FTA 21-25 (.840) 13-22 (.591)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-48 8-41
    Assists 16 16
    Turnovers 10 12
    Steals 7 4
    Blocks 0 3
    Fast Break Points 11 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 21 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 22

    Top Performers

    Tayshaun Prince Prince
    Points: 22
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 31
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1