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Heat lose without O'Neal; Pistons win sixth straight

Feb 7, 2008 - 4:50 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal may be out the door, but things didn't change for the Miami Heat.

Rasheed Wallace scored 26 points to lead all starters in double figures as the Detroit Pistons posted a 100-95 victory over the reeling Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

All-Star Richard Hamilton netted 19 points and Antonio McDyess added 10 and 13 rebounds for the Pistons, who extended their winning streak to six games.

"It's being able to be at home," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who had 15 points and 10 assists. "That's the biggest thing. We have been on the road a lot the last month. Being able to be at home and play in front of our great fans has been the biggest thing for us."

While Detroit continues its drive toward perhaps another trip to the Eastern Conference finals, Miami decided to begin its rebuilding process a little early.

With just one win since Christmas, the Heat traded away O'Neal to the Phoenix Suns for high-flying forward Shawn Marion and point guard Marcus Banks.

"I'm not shocked by anything that happens in the NBA, but I wasn't expecting this," Heat All-Star Dwyane Wade said. "You don't see a guy like Shaquille O'Neal getting traded very often."

Neither joined the team in time for Wednesday night's game.

On the down side of his career, O'Neal has been sidelined for the past six games with a left hip injury and quadriceps acute inflammation. He helped Miami earn its lone NBA title in 2006.

"It was big when we got Shaquille and when we won a title with him, and it's a significant day to lose him," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "It was just a move we felt we had to make."

With an 11-point lead to open the fourth quarter, the Pistons struggled to maintain their advantage as the Heat rallied back behind an impressive 19-8 surge to tie the game at 83-83 with 5:39 left.

"Defensively we were a little undisciplined at times and they took advantage of it," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said.

Wallace hit a pair of free throws and connected on a 14-footer to give Detroit a 92-87 edge at the 2:10 mark. After trading points, Ricky Davis drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to draw Miami within 94-92 with 21 seconds remaining.

"We made a comeback," Davis said. "That little run by Chauncey and Rasheed kind of put it over the edge and we were kind of playing catchup from there."

But Hamilton and Billups combined to seal the deal with six free throws in the waning seconds to keep the Heat under 100 points for the 18th straight game.

"It was a game with all the different things going on, especially with all the snow, we wanted to try to come out and try to find a whole lot of energy, feel off the crowd, and get a win," Hamilton said. "Our energy was kind of lacking at the beginning of the game but we came out with the win."

Wade led the way with 30 points and 12 assists for Miami, which shot 50 percent (37-of-74) from the field.

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