by Brett Edwards
Last night the Pistons won their 24th game in 27 tries, beating the Heat in Detroit. This game wasn't as much of a statement game as the game against the Spurs was, but it was still important for DET to defend their home court, and that's exactly what they did.
I have to admit I was impressed with the Heat's resiliency in this game. There were a couple of times in the second half when the lead reached as many as 9 points, and the Heat were able to respond. Particularly in the 4th quarter, when they went on a quick 7-0 run to cut the lead to 2 with just over 9 minutes to go.
For as much as Shaq runs his mouth, he was involved in two key plays that helped seal the deal for DET. The first came with just under six minutes to go, when Shaq lazily tried a turn around jump hook in the face of Ben Wallace. Since Shaq can't didn't jump, Wallace blocked his shot, then slapped it out to Tayshaun for a behind-the-back dribble and left-handed dunk around D. Wade. This was the highlight of the game, lead from 4 to 6, crowd going nuts, timeout MIA.
Later, Shaq refused to come to the ball on an entry bounce pass from Wade, resulting in a turnover and 2-point DET lead. We've all played with lazy big men like this; they can score most of the time that they get the ball, but never play defense and blame you for the turnover if they themselves don't properly seal the defender.
After the game, Shaq was quoted as saying "We had the game all the way" but made too many mistakes down the stretch, and that DET is beatable. Um, having no more than a 3-point lead the whole game, with your last lead coming with 3:30 to go in the 3rd quarter is not exactly dominating your opponent. Bottom line is that when the game is on the line, the Pistons have at least 3 and arguably 4 players that will deliver in the clutch, and MIA only has one...and it's definitely not number 32.