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Postgame Breakdown: Heat 92, Pistons 65

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - With essentially no margin for error in the Eastern Conference standings, Friday's Heat Pistons Main2 game was one the Heat simply had to stuff in the "win" column on the road.

Miami came into the night in sixth place in the standings, a full game behind Toronto and a half-game ahead of both Charlotte and Chicago. Injuries and adversity were at the Heat's doorstep. Miami answered with a vengeance.

The Heat blew out the team that used to be know as the Pistons 92-65 Friday night at The Palace. It was the Heat's most dominant defensive performance of the season. Miami only needed 22 points and 24 minutes from Dwyane Wade. That's because the Heat overcame the injury absence of second-leading scorer Michael Beasley with its performance on the other end of the court.

Miami dominated the boards, held the Pistons below 50 points until midway through the fourth quarter and emerged with the largest road win in Erik Spoelstra's two seasons as coach. The Pistons were also held to their second-fewest points of the season.

This was a combination of the Heat being defensively on point against an opponent that simply is a shell of its former self at this stage. The names are there. Hamilton, Prince, Wallace. But the games are not.

On the other hand, there was a Daequan Cook sighting for the Heat. Cook, mired in a season-long shooting slump, knocked down both of his threes. In fact, Cook, James Jones and Dorell Wright were perfect 5 of 5 from beyond the arc. The Heat got a season-high 47 points off the bench.

Yes, it was one of those nights for the Heat. A much needed night for this squad.

D. WADE'S DOINGS: The back spasms crept up again, and forced Wade to the bench midway through the second quarter. It disrupted a pretty solid start for Wade, who made four of his first six shots for 11 quick points, three assists and three rebounds in 12 first-half minutes. Wade came back to score another Heat Pistons second 11 points, but he wasn't required to do much. By the end of the third quarter, the Heat had pushed its lead well toward 30 and it was rest time, considering Miami has another game Saturday. Wade said his back was a problem before the game. He saw that Cook was playing well at one point in the second quarter and told Spoelstra to leave Daequan in the game. 

TURNING POINT: With Beasley out, the Heat's second unit was on the spot and challenged to step up. The unit delivered in a big way. It was the second unit that played a key role in the 12-0 run that allowed the Heat to take a double-digit lead in the second quarter. Cook, Wright and Chalmers all contributed in one way or another. The Heat led by as much as 16 in the second quarter with Wade on the bench.  

WINNING EDGE: Rebounding was the deciding factor for the Heat, which won the battle on the boards 52-25. That included a 17-7 edge on the offensive glass. Spoelstra played O'Neal and Jamaal Magloire together for an extended stretch, which gave the Heat a major size advantage in the post. Spoelstra tinkered and came up with the right mixes against Detroit.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: We all know Beasley's playful nature is infectious around the team. We didn't know his aches and pains were, too. It was stunning how quickly injuries buckled the Heat. First, Jermaine O'Neal goes down 50 seconds into the game with a hyper-extended left knee. He came back to start the second quarter. The the injury report only grew worse. Mario Chalmers sprained his left thumb on a play midway through the second quarter, was treated on the bench and then was to have an X-ray done at the half. Moments after Chalmers left the game, Wade limped over to the coaches huddle during a timeout and informed Spoelstra that his back was tightening up. Wade then motioned for a trainer to meet him at the end of the Heat's bench, where he was treated for the spasm. Somehow, the Heat was ahead by 16 at one point late in the first half. Miami's training staff did as running back and forth as the players on the court. Chalmers was the most serious case. He was set to have his thumb in a splint.

KEY CONTRIBUTION: There were plenty, but none bigger than Haslem's effort off the bench. He was Heat Pistons Main pressed into duty earlier than usual after O'Neal went down 50 seconds into the game with a hyper-extended left knee. Haslem closed with 16 points and eight rebounds. He was 7 of 12 from the field. O'Neal got up off the deck to finish with 10 points and 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season, which is one more than he had all of last season.

NEXT UP: Heat at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 Saturday - Bradley Center

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)




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