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Heat turn it on in the fourth to defeat Pistons 100-94

The Pistons are supposed to be coasting, their playoff hopes long dissolved through a jagged season and an unfitting puzzle of a roster. Coasting they were not. FIRST - Size, effort and energy from the Pistons frontcourt quickly reminded the Heat of their girth/agility deficit outside of the Big Three. Jason Maxiell and Greg Monroe combined to score 9 points, going 3-of-5 from the floor while the length of starting point-guard (a la LeBron) McGrady, Tayshaun Prince and the always elusive Rip Hamilton joined the firing squad with 16 points on 8-10 shooting in the 1st quarter. Detroit moved the ball well (12 assists to Miami’s 7) and got high percentage buckets, to go along with some luck on improbable sequences. A 60% hot shooting display would put the Pistons up 27-21 entering the 2nd quarter. SECOND - Another day in the office for LeBron James -- Pistons defenders ricocheting off his person – going a perfect 4-of-4 in the second quarter. Wade and Bosh continued with solid contributions, but most notably was the success of the shooting squad. Designated bombers Bibby, Miller and Jones combined to go 4-for-10 on generously open three-point shots – product of the Pistons defense collapsing on the South Beach stars. Solid decision-making and execution closed the gap on Detroit as Miami finished 53-55 at the half. THIRD – Another day in the office for LeBron James – questionable shots and rushed decisions – going for a donut 0-5 in the third quarter. Similar reproduction from the 1st quarter by the Pistons, as Rip drained shot after shot (3-of-4) casually coming off curls and screens, giving Miami a handful to follow. The Heat would once again be outscored by 6, playing decisive but not outstanding basketball on either side of the floor. The Pistons, were a basketball dream come true. 60% shooting and 25 well-timed assists after 3 quarters would put the Pistons up 81-73. FOURTH – There would be blood. The Pistons announcer morosely said: "This is going to be a difficult quarter" after a LeBron drive to the basket in which he’s fouled and the ball pops out of his hands, the ball inexplicably going in. "There’s a lot of people that moved here from Miami" he continues with, after Wade hands it to James for a fast break dunk and the crowd erupts in cheers. Miami would not accept a loss to a team with a lottery record and clamped down on any Pistons effort. Suffocating defense kept the Pistons scoreless until halfway through the quarter (4-of-19 FG) and the will to reach the rim resulted in a bounty of free-throws (12-16 FT). Miami began with a 15-0 run and ultimately outscored the Pistons 27-13 to come back from their deficit and take what belonged to them. Victory. Ws in this last run of the season are as important as how they are achieved. Although outplayed and outhustled for three quarters, Miami was able to maintain their composure, never faltering at the barrage directed at them. The focus to execute when it mattered most and timely contributions from the supporting cast are encouraging for the team’s development of "championship habits". Will they have all the intangibles collected by the start of the post season? Note: Miami is now 13-0 when the Big Three shoot over 50% from the field. They are now 2.5 games away from the top spot in the Eastern Conference.