MIAMI (AP) -- Dwyane Wade led the comeback and then the
celebration, skipping along the sideline and high-fiving jubilant
The Miami Heat finally showed they can beat the elite,
especially when they have Wade as a weapon. He scored the Heat's
last 17 points, including the game-winner on a 16-footer with 2.3
seconds left, and they edged the Detroit Pistons 100-98 Sunday.
Touted before the season as title contenders, the Heat improved
to 1-7 against the NBA's four top teams. But they needed a frantic
rally to do it.
Miami trailed 90-83 with 4½ minutes left when Wade took over.
His 17 consecutive points were a franchise record, and he finished
"It was a lot of fun," he said. "It was time for me. I had to
come through and help this team win. I put it on my shoulders at
the end to make some plays."
Wade sank his final seven shots and scored 28 points in the
"Dwyane took the game over," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said.
"He got a lot of shots up, and we couldn't get any help over."
Shaquille O'Neal kept the Heat in the game early and finished
with a season-high 31 points.
"It was a big win," O'Neal said. "We could have let it slip
away, but we kept on fighting. Now we have to develop some type of
consistency. Anybody can win one game. We have to do that night in
and night out."
Chauncey Billups had 29 points and 10 assists for the Pistons.
They've lost three of their past five games but still have the
NBA's best record at 41-9.
"The Heat might look at this as being bigger than it really
is," Billups said. "It's just another win. But they have
struggled against teams with better records, so beating the team
with the No. 1 record is a big win for them."
After Wade's basket with 55 seconds left made the score 98-all,
Detroit missed twice, and the Heat regained possession with 25
seconds to go.
Wade walked the ball up court, letting the clock run down. He
then darted to the left against Tayshaun Prince, pulled up and hit
The Pistons' inbounds play following a timeout went awry, and
Prince launched a 3-point try after the buzzer that missed. Detroit
went 5-for-15 in the fourth quarter, scoring only 14 points.
"We just missed shots, and the young boy hit his shots -- that's
all," Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. "It was a good game.
It was what the people wanted, and we supplied it."
The Heat overcame an 84-71 deficit at the start of the fourth
quarter, making the comeback their largest this season. Making the
win even sweeter: Detroit beat Miami in seven games a year ago in
the Eastern Conference finals.
With the onus on the Heat to score a breakthrough win, coach Pat
Riley tried to ease the mood before the game, dancing to Doobie
Brothers music in the locker room.
"He did a great job getting us to lighten up and have a
smile," Wade said. "Coach has got a little rhythm -- I didn't know
he could move like that. It made us think about something else
besides playing the best team in the league."
The Heat repeatedly pounded the ball early to O'Neal in the low
post. He had 21 points at halftime, his high for any half this
season, showing he can still be a dominant force.
"I still can be and still am," he said. "You give me the
shots and call my plays, I'll be there every time."
But foul trouble limited O'Neal to 17 minutes in the second
half, and with time running out on the Heat, Wade took over.
The Pistons failed to score on their first seven possessions of
the final quarter, allowing Miami to cut its deficit to five.
Wade split two defenders to sink a reverse layup, drawing a foul
that sent him skidding along the baseline. He made the free throw
to cut the margin to 90-88 with 3:45 left.
Wade then made a steal and hit two more free throws to tie the
Detroit quickly regained the lead on Billups' 3-pointer, and his
jumper made it 98-94. But Wade scored on consecutive possessions,
his baskets sandwiched around a steal by Gary Payton.
"This win is important for our confidence," Wade said. "Any
game where we're down, we can always look back to this game and
know that we did it against a good team and can pull it out."
Billups' double-double was his 15th this season. ... The
Heat have 0-2 records against Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio, the
top teams in the Western Conference. ... It was the sixth time two
Heat players have scored 30 more points, and the third time O'Neal
and Wade have done it. ... Wade's first basket was a highlight-reel
effort: He caught an alley-oop pass from Jason Williams and spun
180 degrees in the air for a layup.