Pistons
Heat
87 - 85 Final
  for this game

Hamilton leads Pistons to seventh straight win

Dec 1, 2006 - 4:07 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Richard Hamilton took charge in the second half to enable the Detroit Pistons to continue their winning ways.

Hamilton scored 24 points, Tayshaun Prince had 12 and Chauncey Billups 11 to lead the Pistons to their seventh consecutive victory, an 87-85 triumph over the Miami Heat.

Facing Miami for the first time since the last spring's Eastern Conference finals, the Pistons defeated the Heat for the 10th time in their last 12 regular-season encounters and improved to 4-0 on the road against Eastern Conference opponents.

"We just want to continue to get better," Hamilton said. "That's the great thing about us. We can still get better."

"It was probably the worst game we played in a couple of weeks, but we came out with a win," Billups said.

After Dwyane Wade hit a jumper to give Miami a 57-52 lead with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter, Detroit closed the period with a 14-7 run. Hamilton hit three jumpers and Prince and Nazr Mohammed each made a layup during the burst.

"(Hamilton) hit some big shots," Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. "He hit some shots down the stretch. He was consistent all night."

Wade scored four points in the first half of the fourth quarter and then nailed a 20-foot jumper with 5:56 remaining to tie the score, 76-76. However, Billups and Wallace sank 3-pointers and Hamilton made an eight-footer with 4:15 to go to put Miami on top, 84-76.

Wade hit two foul shots and Udonis Haslem connected on a pair of jumpers to bring the Heat within 84-82 with 2:35 to play before Hamilton sank a 15-footer just 20 seconds later.

"We had a chance to win the game, but I thought the biggest problem that we had is that we gave a team airspace that we don't want to give airspace," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "We gave Chauncey two pull-up jumpers and we gave Rasheed two threes."

James Posey cut the deficit to 86-85 by making a basket from the arc with 1:47 to go. But with a chance to win the game, Wade fell short on a 20-foot jumper with 1.2 seconds left before Hamilton made 1-of-2 free throws.

"The shot clock and the game clock were pretty much a second apart," Wade said. "I was trying to get it up quick and not give them an opportunity. Then I saw the double-team coming up. I tried to go real quick and I didn't get the ball in my hand the way I wanted to, so I came up short."

"I just wanted to try and contain him (and) force him to shoot a jump shot," Hamilton said. "He's so good at getting to the basket and getting fouled that we just tried to keep him on the perimeter."

Ronald Murray scored 10 points for Detroit, which had a 45-40 rebounding advantage en route to its third straight road win.

After becoming the first player since 1989 to record three straight games with 30 points and 12 assists, Wade made only 5-of-23 shots and scored 21 points. Haslem added 20 and Dorell Wright 11 for Miami.

"We switched up a lot, gave (Wade) a lot of different looks," Billups said. "Even with those five field goals, he made some tough, tough shots, and missed some easy ones. We didn't let him get a steady diet of what we were doing."

"It was one of those nights," Riley said. "(Wade) has the ball to win the game. I love him. (Whether he was) 5-for-23 or 10-for-12, it doesn't make any difference. We just did not make enough defensive plays to not be in that situation at the end, to have to make a shot to win it."






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