It was turn-back-the-clock night for James, who had a sparse supporting cast surrounding him. James appeared much more comfortable at the left elbow, where he attacked the Pistons' soft interior defense. Another source of comfort was the clarity of his role. The Heat needed a huge night from him to win, and he gracefully obliged.
Wade was a late scratch for precautionary reasons after the team's medical personnel examined the sprained right wrist he suffered Thursday night in the Heat's loss to New York. His absence enabled Mike Miller to start and for Eddie House to pick up extended minutes.
Bosh missed his third consecutive game since sustaining a high left ankle sprain nearly two weeks ago in Chicago. The Heat continue to struggle without Bosh's presence and skill set in the high post.
The Heat desperately needed a couple members of their supporting cast to fill the vacuum, but only Eddie House (15 points) truly helped. Of the reserves, House was the only productive scorer, and his pair of free throws with 6.5 seconds left lifted the Heat to a one-point win. A tentativeness has infected the Heat's peripheral players. They're nervous with the ball and slow to shoot.
The Pistons generally don't have the highest energy, but they scrapped with the short-handed Heat. Ben Gordon sprayed high-arching jumpers from all over the floor. Tracy McGrady's shot is as flat as Gordon's is graceful, but he set teammates up with some pretty looks. Detroit has some serious length and should be further along defensively than they are.