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Pistons dominate late, end Heat's 10-game win streak

The SportsXchange

MIAMI - The Detroit Pistons acquired players such as All-Star guard Brandon Jennings and forward Josh Smith in the hopes of becoming a playoff team again.

Both made clutch plays down the stretch that helped stifle the Miami Heat's late rally and give the Pistons its biggest win of the season to date, 107-97, Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"It's a great feeling," Pistons center Andre Drummond said. "We played all 48 minutes tonight. We didn't let up off the gas. We just took advantage of the lead we had and just kept pushing forward."

The Pistons (8-10) snapped the defending NBA champion Heat's 10-game winning streak and had its entire starting lineup and seven players overall score in double digits. The Pistons built an early lead that grew to as many as 18 points, taking advantage of a poor shooting first half by the Heat.

The Heat (14-4), who played without guard Dwyane Wade (knee soreness), lost only their second game at home this season, and allowed over 100 points for the first time in its past nine games. The Heat also shot a dismal 2 for 10 from three-point range in the first quarter and 38 percent in the first half.

"Beating the Heat is not easy to do," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We held our composure and we knew at some point they'd make a run. Brandon made a big three and it kind of settled us down a bit."

The Heat rallied more than once from late deficits during the winning streak. The Pistons denied Miami another such comeback with clutch play down the stretch during a late 7-1 surge after the Heat cut the deficit to 91-88 with 6:17 left in the fourth.

"We missed a lot of shots to start the game and put ourselves in a hole," Heat forward LeBron James said. "We don't want to play from behind. We have to come into the game and be more aggressive."

The Pistons held a double-digit lead for nearly two entire quarters until Norris Cole's layup off a steal with 9:04 left in the fourth cut Detroit's lead to 85-76.

The layup was one of three in a row for Cole following a Chris Andersen put-back dunk that sparked Miami's initial fourth quarter comeback after falling behind 85-68.

James, who finished with 23 points, was on the bench and checked back in with 7:58 left and the Heat trailing 89-78. The Heat went on 10-2 surge.

But after missing three consecutive jumpers, Jennings hit a three-pointer with 4:09 left to put Pistons back up by six.

Smith later stole a pass and mid-court and raced for an uncontested dunk.

"We don't want to script it like that," Miami forward Chris Bosh said. "Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn't. Today, offensively it was really hard to get a flow. We kept turning the ball over. It was a good run and maybe it's what this team needs right now going on this road trip."

Jennings finished with 15 points, five assists and four steals. Smith had 15 points and four rebounds.

Detroit also finished with a marked rebounding edge 46-34 led by Drummond's game-high 18 rebounds. Drummond had a career-best 31 points and 19 rebounds in the Pistons' previous game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Pistons rookie guard Kyle Singler's sharp shooting helped the Pistons maintain their lead in the third quarter with 10 points in the period and finishing with a team-high 18 points.

"[The three-pointers] does open up our inside game," Singler said. "That is our strength, so we're not going to go away from it. To knock down some threes, it just opens up the whole game for different players."

Bosh's layup for the game's opening bucket gave the Heat its only lead of the game.

Miami's Michael Beasley came off the bench and put together his best game of the season with a season-high 23 points. It was his sixth double-digit scoring game of the season.

NOTES: Heat G Dwyane Wade missed his fourth game of the season Tuesday night with knee soreness. James Jones got his third start of the season in Wade's place. Jones scored 17 points and went 5-of-7 from 3-point range in his prior start Nov. 20 at Orlando. ... Heat reserve G Roger Mason, Jr. and his sister were robbed at a restaurant Sunday. According to local media reports, Miami police said four men robbed patrons at Ni Do Cafe, an Italian restaurant in North Miami. Two suspects have since been arrested and two more are on the run. Mason, Jr. was not made available to the media Tuesday due to the ongoing investigation. ... Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said he was pleased at the way Brandon Jennings was settling into the team's lineup in recent games as a facilitator. Jennings entered Tuesday's game averaging 12.3 assists over his previous three games. ... Detroit won't have to wait long to face the Heat again. After the Pistons finish the three-game road trip that began Tuesday in Miami, they will host the Heat Sunday.
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