Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 10/31

Game 1: Friday, October 31st
Game 2: Wednesday, December 3rd
Game 3: Monday, February 2nd
Game 4: Friday, April 2nd

Heat 84

(37-39, 11-27 away)

Pistons 92

(49-27, 27-10 home)

    8:00 PM ET, April 2, 2004

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 21 24 20 1984
    DET 20 17 23 3292

    Top Performers

    Mia: E. Jones 16 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Det: C. Billups 31 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    Billups drops 31 on Heat

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Miami Heat know they might be facing the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs.

    They didn't enjoy Friday night's preview.

    The Heat led by as many as 13 in the first half, but Detroit's NBA-leading defense held them to just 39 points in the final two quarters in the Pistons' 92-84 victory.

    "They just took the game over at the end," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That's a great, great defensive basketball team."

    Chauncey Billups had 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead the Pistons to their 11th win in 13 games. Rasheed Wallace added 17 points after missing two games because of a sore back, and Mehmet Okur and Corliss Williamson both had 11.

    "We really needed that," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "We had a lot of trouble stopping them, but we had a lot of guys pick it up in the second half. I thought our defense picked up and our offense got better."

    Lamar Odom led the Heat with 18 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Eddie Jones scored 16, and Caron Butler added 13 points and nine rebounds in Miami's second loss in its last 11 games.

    "We know they are a great team, but that was a two-possession game and it could have been a different story," Jones said. "I don't care who we play in the first round, but it would be a great series if it is Detroit."

    Miami held the Pistons to just 30.2-percent shooting in the first half and built a 45-37 lead. Jones and Billups each had 11 in the half.

    "We were just not playing together, especially on the defensive end," Ben Wallace said. "We came out a little lackadaisical."

    Detroit, though, scored the first seven points of the third, including five by Rasheed Wallace, to get back into the game.

    The Pistons took a 52-49 lead midway through the quarter, but Miami came back to lead 65-60 going into the fourth.

    The Pistons scored the first seven points of the fourth, taking a 67-65 edge on Mike James' 3-pointer with 10:07 left. James played with Miami last season, and felt that gave him an advantage.

    "I have a lot of close friends on that team and they really haven't changed their system," he said. "So when I went into the game, I knew what they liked to do and what they don't like to do, and I was able to try to disrupt things."

    Miami tied it at 71, but Billups' layup and Mehmet Okur's 3-pointer gave the Pistons a 76-71 advantage with 6:46 to go.

    The Heat tried to stay close, but Rasheed Wallace and Billups hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to increase the margin to eight. Odom fouled out moments later, and the Pistons cruised to the victory.

    "Those threes were the biggest shots of the game," Van Gundy said. "We had a chance, but we've got to find a way to keep Lamar on the floor."

    Game notes

    Rasheed Wallace and Bimbo Coles, who is on Miami's injured list, were called for technical fouls after a third-quarter trash-talking duel. ... Detroit swept the season series with Miami for the first time since 1988-89 -- the Heat's first season. ... Detroit's Richard Hamilton scored a season-low three points and fouled out in 21 minutes of action.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 92
    FGM-FGA 32-82 (.390) 32-80 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 8-24 (.333) 7-14 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 12-18 (.667) 21-26 (.808)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-45 9-41
    Assists 19 20
    Turnovers 13 11
    Steals 6 5
    Blocks 6 11
    Fast Break Points 5 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/0) 23 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Eddie Jones Jones
    Points: 16
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 31
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0