MIAMI (AP) -- The look on Dwyane Wade's face was one of pure
pain, the discomfort from a strained rib muscle contorting his
features as he motioned to the bench.
Wade wanted out, and out he came for the final 10 minutes of the
Heat's most important win of the postseason -- an 88-76 victory over
the Detroit Pistons that moved Miami within one game of the NBA
Whether Wade can help the Heat take the last step remains to be
The emerging superstar was injured while executing a crossover
dribble in the third quarter of Thursday night's Game 5 of the
Eastern Conference finals. He tried to return but the pain was too
much, and Wade was uncertain of his availability for Game 6 at
Detroit on Saturday night.
"It's very, very painful," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said.
"It feels like he's being stabbed when he breathes. We'll just
have to wait and see."
Wade scored 15 points and Shaquille O'Neal had 20 for the Heat,
who received significant contributions from several players -- from
some savvy freelancing by point guard Damon Jones to two timely
turnaround jumpers by Rasual Butler in the fourth quarter -- in
moving as close as the franchise has ever been to the championship
But to get there, they'll have to win one final time against a
Detroit team that has time and again taken its game to a higher
level when circumstances start to turn dire.
And they might have to do it without Wade.
"I couldn't move in either direction, I could only go
straight," Wade said. "Hopefully, me being young, I can recoup
real quick and be ready for Game 6."
Miami's Udonis Haslem had his best game of the series with 14
points and 13 rebounds, helping make up for a sub-par offensive
effort from Eddie Jones (seven points). Butler contributed 12
points off the bench, including seven in the fourth quarter, and
Damon Jones scored 15.
"Their energy was a lot greater than ours," Pistons coach
Larry Brown said. "In Game 4 our big guys got four or five dunks
on the break. We didn't see any of that tonight. They just played a
"We're going to win Game 6," Wallace said. "They want there
to be a Game 7, there's no other series. If y'all can't see that,
In NBA history, the winner of Game 5 in a series tied 2-2 has
gone on to win it 106 of 126 times.
Wade went to the locker room after taking a charge from Wallace
with 5:08 left in the third period. He returned for the start of
the fourth quarter, then motioned to the bench that he needed to
come out less than 2 minutes into the period.
"I took the charge because I couldn't move," Wade said. "I
wanted to stop play anyway.
"I tried to come back. We got a lot of guys on our team playing
through a lot, so I tried to come back and see if I get out there
and get going it would feel better, but I couldn't and I didn't
want to make it any worse. I had confidence my team could get this
victory, and they did."
He planned to see how the injury felt in the morning before the
Heat traveled to Detroit.
Miami took control in the second quarter by holding Detroit to
six field goals and forcing six turnovers in the period. An 11-0
run to close the first half left Miami ahead 53-39, and Detroit
trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
Damon Jones and O'Neal each started 4-for-4 in the first
quarter, O'Neal getting his within Miami's halfcourt sets while
Jones got his through freelancing. An ill-advised 3-point attempt
early in the shot clock ended Jones' 4-for-4 streak late in the
period, and he toned down his act through the remainder of the
first half and helped keep the Heat steadily in front.
Hamilton kept the Pistons within striking range, but with no one
else contributing on offense, Detroit had a significant lull.
Hamilton's 9-foot bank shot with 2:23 left gave the Pistons their
last points of the second quarter, and Miami closed the half with
an 11-0 run for the 53-39 lead.
Haslem had a wide-open corner jumper and a tip-in to get the
lead up to 63-45 early in the third quarter, and a 21-footer by
Wade with 5:31 left gave Miami its first 20-point lead, 67-47.
Detroit scored the next six points, and Van Gundy wanted a
timeout when Jones pulled off his next piece of freelancing.
Ignoring his coach as he sped over the midcourt line, Jones
drove straight to the basket and lofted the ball to O'Neal for an
alley-oop dunk. It was a temporary stop to Detroit's comeback,
however, as they quickly pulled within 10, but a momentum killer
That was as close as Detroit would get, and Miami was able to
stay comfortably ahead through the fourth quarter despite being
without Wade, who was averaging 30.0 points in the series.
"My wife is going to have to sleep in another bed tonight,
because if she hits me, it'll hurt," Wade said.
Brown finally made a public acknowledgment that he had
spoken with the Cleveland Cavaliers about becoming their team
president. He again said he would hold off on making any decisions
about his future until after the season ends and he addresses a
health problem. ... O'Neal led the Heat in scoring for only the
second time this postseason.