for this game

Pistons survive struggle with Heat

Feb 5, 2009 - 4:46 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat staged an old-fashioned, tug-of-war on Wednesday.

Back and forth they went as neither team could take charge until Rodney Stuckey hit a circus shot over Dwyane Wade in the final minute to give the Pistons the lead and they went on to a 93-90 victory.

"When you're struggling and get a win, it'll usually be an ugly one," Detroit coach Michael Curry said. "We turned the ball over (18) times, which isn't like us. That'll put you in a tough situation. ... I thought defensively we did a good job on Wade and made it difficult for him."

With time running down on the shot clock and the score tied at 87-87, Stuckey tried to make a move on Wade, who didn't bite. The Pistons guard was caught in mid-air and somehow fired up a shot that found the net off glass.

"It just went in," Stuckey said. "That's about all you can say. The shot clock was going down so I had to get it off."

Backcourt mate Allen Iverson felt it was a moment of being lucky rather than good.

"That was a prayer," Iverson said. "He'll probably try that shot a thousand times and he'll make it once."

Wade agreed.

"Oh, man. That was some luck," he said. "No way, but it went in for him. I played him as good as I could. He made a big shot and put them up by two. That's what big players do. Some guys amaze you at times."

Rasheed Wallace then hit a long 3-pointer with 20.2 seconds left to give Detroit a five-point bulge.

After being called for a technical for slamming the ball - Tayshaun Prince missed the free throw - Wade hit a long three from the corner to make it 92-90 with 18 seconds on the clock.

Richard Hamilton missed two free throws with 15.5 seconds left, giving Miami a chance to force overtime or win. Wade missed a tough fadeaway and the Heat were forced to foul with 5.6 seconds to play.

Arron Afflalo hit 1-of-2 from the line. The Heat pushed the ball upcourt, but Wade finished a 10-of-31 night with a miss from the arc.

"I was just thinking, 'Don't go in. Please don't go in,'" Iverson said. "That's all I was thinking. Fortunately for us, it didn't. Now we can take the positive things from this game into the next game and leave the negative things right here."

The game proved to be an old-fashioned slugfest between the two Eastern Conference foes. While they may not be the forces they once were, they put forth a stellar defensive effort in this contest.

The Heat held a 21-20 edge after 12 minutes. Detroit put together back-to-back, 25-point quarters - an offensive eruption in this defense-centered game - to take a 70-61 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Antonio McDyess had a big game off the bench for the Pistons, grabbing 17 rebounds and scoring eight points. Wallace and Stuckey scored 18 points apiece for Detroit.

Wade paced the Heat with 29. Michael Beasley and Shawn Marion added 16 points apiece for the Heat, who committed only five turnovers.

"It wasn't a great shooting night for us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "What kept us in was our defensive energy. We forced them into turnovers and we only turned the ball over five or six times, which kept us in the game.

"I thought they played with a little more sense of urgency (at the start of the second half). ... They jumped out to the early lead and we were just playing from behind from there. By the fourth quarter, I thought our energy and focus were pretty good."