AUBURN HILLS, MI - Those front-row fans who heckled Dwyane Wade in the final minute of the game got the last laugh on this night.
But Wade put a scare into them. Wade had one of his most complete games of the season, but he missed two jumpers in the final seconds as the Pistons held on for a 93-90 victory at the Palace to extend their winning streak over Miami to six games.
This one had playoff intensity. This one had hard fouls, technical fouls and foul offense (for the first half). So in other words, it had everything the Heat-Pistons rivalry has come to know. Detroit won the first of four meetings this season between two teams desperately trying to secure the fourth seed in the East and homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
Yes, the playoffs are still two solid months away. But you wouldn't have known it on Wednesday night.
Player of the Game: Dwyane Wade - Fought off another recurrence of the migraine headaches this week to turn in 29 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 45 minutes. He was just 10 of 31 from the field, but got hot at the right time - until his final two jumpers missed. Considering the way he finished, it was hard to recall Wade miss that many shots.
Surprise, Surprise: Shawn Marion - While it comes as little surprise that Marion had another stat-sheet-stuffing night, it was bit of a shock to see him bounce back so quickly after taking a shot in the face from Allen Iverson during a loose ball scramble in the first half. Marion was taken to the locker room to have his left eye treated. But he came back and finished with 16 points, six boards, four steals, two assists and a block in 41 minutes. At 6 of 10 from the field, he had the most accurate night.
Tough Night: James Jones - There are going to be nights like this along his return to form the wrist surgery that kept him out the first three months of the season. Jones missed both of his field goal attempts and had five fouls in 14 minutes off the bench. Beasley scored 16 of the 17 points Miami got from its bench. James is gradually being counted on to do more.
Lit 'em Up: Rodney Stuckey - He grew up idolizing Dwyane Wade's game and capped his night by hitting the go-ahead jumper over Wade. Stuckey had 18 points, six assists and six rebounds in 39 minutes. But his highlight was the double-clutch bank shot he hit over Wade with 45.2 seconds left to put the Pistons ahead to stay. Wade was hardly impressed. "Man, that was some luck," Wade said. "Some guys amaze you at times."
Stat of the Night: 30-17 - On a night when most things were even between the teams, the Pistons had a huge advantage with its second unit. Detroit's bench outscore Miami's by 13 points.
That Says it All: "Do not go in. Please do not go in. Fortunately for us, it did not." - Pistons guard Allen Iverson, on his thoughts as Wade launched the potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
Next Up: Heat at Philadelphia 76ers, 7 p.m. Wachovia Center