Friday, January 25, 2013 11:42 pm
Wade leads Heat past Pistons 110-88
By STEVEN WINEAP Sports Writer
Lately he's scoring from all over the court.
Wade had 29 points and sparked a pivotal run to help the Miami Heat earn their fourth victory in a row Friday by beating the Detroit Pistons 110-88.
Wade began the night at 20.5 points per game, his lowest average since his rookie season in 2003-04. But he scored a season-high 35 points Wednesday in a win over Toronto, and had 23 in the first half against Detroit to put Miami ahead to stay.
"I'm just getting healthier," said Wade, who had left knee surgery last July. "I'm being more active. I feel in a lot better shape than I was early in the year. Lately I've been put in the right position to be aggressive."
After falling behind by nine points, the Heat outscored Detroit 26-4 during a seven-minute stretch in the second quarter to take a 60-47 lead. Wade scored 15 points during the spurt.
"You can see the spring in D-Wade's legs," teammate LeBron James said.
Despite several acrobatic baskets by Wade, the night's biggest cheer came when a 50-year-old computer technician from McHenry, Ill., made a half-court shot to win $75,000 and a hug from James.
As part of a contest sponsored by James' foundation, Michael Drysch sank a one-handed hook shot from midcourt between periods. James watched from the bench, and when the shot swished in, he happily sprinted at Drysch and embraced him, and both tumbled to the court.
"I was excited," James said. "I would have probably air-balled that one in that situation."
Wade sank some improbable shots, too, including a jumper when he was fouled, landed on his rear and slid toward the Heat bench.
James added 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Heat, who shot 56 percent. Over the past two seasons, they're 34-2 when shooting at least 50 percent.
On three successive possessions late in the first half, James and Wade took turns feeding each other. First, James threw an alley-oop pass to Wade for an easy layup.
The Heat then forced a turnover to start a fast break that ended with Wade's alley-oop pass to James for a dunk. Next came another Pistons turnover, and Wade flipped an underhand pass across the lane to James for another dunk and a 60-47 lead.
"They hit us, and we were playing catch-up," Detroit's Will Bynum said. "D-Wade took over, and LeBron was his usual self. It's just tough to defend when they're playing like that."
Miami, last in the NBA in rebounds, even won the battle of the boards, 36-35.
Greg Monroe scored 31 points for the Pistons, who never got close in the second half. They committed 19 turnovers, which led to 26 Miami points.
"You look what those turnovers turn into. They are hard to recover from," coach Lawrence Frank said. "Some of those turnovers were just dribbling the ball too much. We're not moving it where it needs to be moved."
Wade's final points came on a dunk to make it 99-79. He was then replaced by Chris Andersen, making his first appearance in an NBA game since playing with Denver last March. The veteran forward-center signed a 10-day deal with the Heat on Sunday.
Andersen, who played the final 3 1/2 minutes, had two points and two rebounds.
"To actually get on that court tonight, it was exhilarating," Andersen said.
The Heat got even for a loss at Detroit on Dec. 28. They improved to 18-3 at home, while the Pistons fell to 4-16 on the road.
Miami travels to Boston on Sunday for the first time since last year's Eastern Conference final. The Heat are in a stretch where they play 10 out of 12 games on the road.
"You would think," James said with a slight smile, "that winning an NBA championship would give you a better seed."
Notes: The Heat improved to 13-0 at home when leading at halftime. ... Detroit's Andre Drummond ranks among the league's top rookies in shooting (first), rebounds (second) and blocks (second). ... James' streak of reaching double figures in the first quarter ended at five games.