Wade scores 40 as Heat scorch Pistons
Miami — As Dwyane Wade approaches the downward spiral of his career, he often sits games whether he is injured, sore or simply needs a break just to get through the season and play in the playoffs. But there is still danger in those balky knees.
The Pistons discovered that Sunday night as Wade lit them up for 40 points, six rebounds and four assists during the Miami Heats' 109-102 victory over the Pistons at American Airlines Arena.
Wade was the hottest man in the building. He lit up Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with high-arching fadeaway jumpers and when the Pistons countered with the longer and leaner Tayshaun Prince, Wade turned into a distributor.
This old dog knows every trick in the book and the Pistons paid dearly. Wade has missed 102 games the past four seasons with ailments and rest, including 18 this season. But when he is right Wade is difficult to stop.
"He is a good player. He makes plays," Caldwell-Pope said. "The ball was just going in. I had great concentration and great D, he was just knocking them in."
The troubling part for Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is not what Wade did, but the help he received. The Pistons got two players rolling but the Heat got major contributions from Udonis Haslem (18 points, 13 rebounds and seven offensive boards), Mario Chalmers (11 points and nine rebounds) and James Ennis who had 16 points and six boards off the bench.
"You can't just look at (Wade's numbers)," Van Gundy said. "To me rebounding was the big difference in the game and the number of layups we gave up. We gave him (Wade) a couple of easy baskets but he made tough shots. He is a Hall of Famer. He is going to make those but you have to rebound those that he misses."
On a night Andre Drummond could not be stopped his team did not go to him enough. Drummond went as many as 10 straight possessions without touching the ball, which is appalling on a night he pumped in 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. He did it on just 17 shots, making 14.
Van Gundy said Drummond got enough shots, but point guard Reggie Jackson hinted the team could have fed him more with this hot hand.
"We can take advantage of it more," Jackson said. "I don't think anybody can move him. He can elevate over the top and shoot that comfortable shot."
Drummond was solid and dependable while several leaks sprung up around him. Those included:
• Jackson put up decent numbers with 31 points, nine assists and six rebounds. He appeared sharp at times, but hurt himself by dribbling into trouble. He also was 4-for-8 from the free-throw line and missed a number in the first half during a big Heat surge.
• The Pistons got no help from their bench. They were 7-for-27 for the game shooting including a 2-for-17 in the first half. Prince, who found the fountain of youth two days in Orlando with 23 points and seven rebounds, struggled and finished with six points and missed six of eight shots.
• Caldwell-Pope followed up a 4-for-20 night against the Magic by going 4-for-14 against the Heat for nine points. Van Gundy talked about fatigue setting in for Caldwell-Pope.
One thing about the Pistons, they rarely quit. Their chances of making the playoffs are slim but just as long as they are hanging by a string they continue to make games interesting. Still, their playoff hopes took another critical hit.
With 11 games remaining they trail No. 8 seed eight seed Boston (32-40) by four games. The Pistons magic number for elimination is six games.
The Pistons trailed by 17 points in the third quarter, but Jodie Meeks hit a pair of jumpers and Jackson dove into the lane to slice the lead 71-67 as part of a Pistons 13-0 run.
Then Wade got hot again. He hit three fadeaway jumpers over Caldwell-Pope. The Pistons countered by putting Prince on Wade. Then he turned distributor and the Heat were back up 12 points after open 3-pointers by Mario Chalmers and Henry Walker.
The Pistons called timeout trailing 83-71 with 9:02 remaining.
They were no threat the rest of the game because Wade matched every move with one of his own.
"Everybody knows he is a great player, one of the greatest to ever play this game," Jackson said. "At his age he still dominates. He picks his spots. I thought KCP did a great job of making it difficult for him tonight but he found a rhythm and got to the line and got fouls called."