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Pistons take backseat to half-court shot in Heat win

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- If the Miami Heat ever slumps offensively this season, perhaps they can call Michael Drysch.

For now, though, the Heat are doing just fine, earning their fourth straight win by beating the Detroit Pistons, 110-88, Friday night.

Dwyane Wade scored 17 of his 29 points in the second quarter, and LeBron James added 23 points to power the Heat (28-12), who lead the Eastern Conference by two games over the New York Knicks.

In some ways, though, Drysch was the real star Friday night -- and he wasn't even in uniform.

Drysch, a 50-year-old computer technician, hit a right-handed hook shot from half court to win $75,000. The shot took place in between the third and fourth quarters.

James' foundation sponsored the contest, and the Heat superstar was so excited when the shot went in that he ran over to Drysch, gave him a bear hug and ended up tumbling to the ground with the fan in his arms.

The shot and James' reaction will no doubt make all the highlight shows, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who was addressing the rest of his team at the time, was oblivious.

"I heard the eruption," Spoelstra said. "I looked over, and I saw LeBron absolutely tackle the guy. I had no idea what was going on. I figured he hit it, but the tackle blew me away.

"I think the fan, while he will love the 75K -- who wouldn't? -- but I think having that on video, LeBron James tackling you at half court in front of 20,000 people ... I think that will be the longer-lasting memory."

As for the game, the Heat avenged a 105-99 loss at Detroit (16-27) earlier in the season. Wade missed that game, however, because of a one-game suspension.

This time around, the overmatched Pistons only had one magical quarter in them -- the first, In which Detroit led the Heat 31-30. The Pistons scored just 57 points the rest of the way, though.

The Heat outscored the Pistons, 30-20, in the second quarter and rolled from there.

"When they score 60 points in the first half, it's going to be hard for us to maintain that type of shooting," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "We just gave up too many easy baskets.

"Never once did we make them feel uncomfortable."

Frank pointed out that the Pistons had 24 assists when they beat the Heat in December. This time, Detroit had just 11 assists and 18 turnovers, mostly because of what he called "focus errors."

Detroit was led by center Greg Monroe, who had 31 points and 12 rebounds. He made 12 of 17 shots from the field and 7 of 8 from the line.

But Monroe said the Heat defense turned up the pressure after the first quarter, getting into Detroit's "air space" and forcing mistakes.

"We didn't handle it well," he said. "The turnovers killed us, and we gave up too many points in the paint (56)."

Much of the credit goes to James and Wade. James was seemingly everywhere Friday night. Besides his comical tackle of Drysch, he also had seven rebounds and seven assists.

Wade made 12 of 20 shots and added seven assists and five rebounds.

Spoelstra said he knew Wade wasn't 100 percent healthy at the start of the season and would need time to recover from knee surgery.

The coach said Wade has been looking more active the past three or four weeks. Spoelstra said the Heat had a recent 11 a.m. practice, and Wade was there at 8:45, lifting weights.

"He knows that as you get older in the league, the harder you have to work to maintain your youth," the coach said. "He's recapturing his youth right now."

NOTES: Heat, forward Chris Bosh, who was named an NBA All-Star reserve Thursday, had 14 points and seven rebounds. ... Chris "Birdman" Andersen, a veteran 6-10 forward who signed a 10-day contract Sunday, made his Heat debut with 3:32 left in the game and had two points and two rebounds in three minutes. Andersen, 34, was signed to see if he can improve the Heat's deficient rebounding numbers. For his career, he is averaging 5.2 rebounds and 17.9 minutes per game. ... During the All-Star break, Heat point guard Mario Chalmers will have his college jersey -- No. 15 -- retired by his alma mater, Kansas. Chalmers led the Jayhawks to the 2008 national title. The ceremony for Chalmers is set for Feb. 16, when Texas and the ESPN Game Day cameras visit Kansas. ... Friday was a homecoming for Pistons guard Brandon Knight, a Miami native who led Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest to a pair of state titles. Knight finished Friday's game with 9 points and 5 assists. ... Backup point guard Will Bynum, who had 25 points and 10 assists when the Pistons beat the Heat in December, was also fairly quiet this time around. He had 13 points and 1 assist. ... Next up for the Heat is a trip to Boston to play the Celtics on Sunday. ... The Pistons play at the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
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