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PISTONS 92, HEAT 88

Pistons get it in gear

Fast start helps knock off Heat

DETROIT -- The Pistons got off to a great start, had a double-digit lead with less than a minute left, and barely hung on.

Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal were spectacular for the Miami Heat.

Ultimately, however, all that mattered is that the Eastern Conference finals are even.

Tayshaun Prince tied a career playoff high with 24 points and had 11 rebounds, Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, and Detroit bounced back -- as usual -- and beat Miami, 92-88, last night in Game 2.

``They came in here and won a game, now it's our turn to go down there and do the same thing," Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups said.

Game 3 is tomorrow night in Miami.

The Heat almost took a stunning and commanding 2-0 lead with a frantic rally -- scoring 17 points in the final 1:46 after trailing by 12.

``I'm going to go to that offense in the beginning of the night," Miami coach Pat Riley joked.

Wade had 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, while O'Neal was dominant with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

``I've got a busted lip and a black eye," Detroit center Ben Wallace said after defending O'Neal for much of the night. ``But you do what you have to do."

O'Neal wants to inflict more damage.

``I think we need to focus on getting it inside," O'Neal said. ``We took way too many jump shots."

Detroit, which led by as many as 14 points in the first half, went ahead, 57-39, early in the second half on Hamilton's layup after Billups scored his first points on a 3-pointer and a layup.

A 10-2 run pulled Miami within 6 points midway through the fourth quarter. Rasheed Wallace's 3-pointer gave the Pistons an 81-71 lead with 2:41 left.

While thousands of fans headed home, Miami wasn't ready to concede even though it trailed, 85-75, with just under a minute to go.

Wade's 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds left made it 90-88 after Prince was called for a five-second violation on an inbounds pass, though the lanky forward said he called time out.

``We were desperate -- we should've played that way from the start," Wade said.

The Pistons sealed the victory when Billups connected on two free throws and Lindsey Hunter made a steal.

``When you start playing not to lose, you don't play aggressive," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. ``You wait for the clock to keep rolling."

Billups had 18 points and eight assists, Rasheed Wallace scored 16 points, and Ben Wallace added 9 points and 12 rebounds.

In Miami's Game 1 win, Antoine Walker, Gary Payton, and Jason Williams combined for 41 points. In Game 2, that trio contributed just 25 points.

``You have to have four or five guys play well," Riley said.

The Pistons led, 25-12, after making 56 percent of their shots and holding Miami to 25 percent. It was the Heat's lowest-scoring quarter of the playoffs, and the fewest points a team has scored against the Pistons in the first quarter this postseason.

Detroit had success in the first quarter keeping Wade out of the lane, forcing him to settle for three missed jumpers, and he had 2 points on free throws. Wade got closer to the basket in the second quarter and also connected from the outside, scoring 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

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