Pistons level series against Miami Heat

Agence France Presse

Detroit, June 1:

Richard Hamilton scored 28 points and the Detroit Pistons played a near-flawless first half to post a 106-96 victory over Miami Heat and even the NBA Eastern Conference finals at two games each. Detroit, facing the prospect of returning to Miami in a 3-1 hole, responded with a performance worthy of the reigning NBA champs. They shot 52 per cent (22-of-42) from the field and did not commit a turnover in opening a 60-46 lead.

Leading the way was Hamilton, who was responsible for more than half the offence with 19 points and seven assists. Hamilton scored 61 points on his home floor.

The Pistons did most of their damage in the second quarter, flashing their balance on both ends. The Pistons made their first seven shots of the period, then held the Heat to one basket in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

The Heat made things more difficult with foul trouble. Three players picked up two fouls in the first quarter, including Shaquille O’Neal. His third and fourth fouls also forced him to the bench.

Rasheed Wallace scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half and Chauncey Billups added 17 for the second-seeded Pistons, who finished at 48 per cent (37-of-77) with just six turnovers. Dwyane Wade was forced to work hard for 28 points and O’Neal managed just 12 for Heat.