Heat first in East after win in Detroit
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)
All in a night's work for the Miami Heat, who are now alone atop the Eastern Conference.
James had 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Wade scored 24 points to lead the Heat to their eighth straight victory, 106-92 over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. Miami entered the game tied atop the conference with Boston, which had the night off and hosts the Heat on Sunday.
James took a moment early on to ask a heckler to lay off his family. A fan who said he was seated near the heckler said James was being taunted when he told the fan he could say whatever he wanted about the Miami star, but, ''Don't say anything about my family. Be respectful or we're going to have a problem.''
The witness said James' comments included an expletive.
Afterward, James shrugged off the exchange.
''Guys get out of control at times,'' he said. ''I understand they are very passionate, but you need to know where to draw the line. We're all human. I don't care if you say anything about the game of basketball, or something to me. Just don't be disrespectful.''
Wade, meanwhile, was busy impressing another member of the audience seated on the other side of the court. Aretha Franklin was on hand for the game in what was believed to be one of her first public appearances since undergoing surgery Dec. 2 for an undisclosed ailment.
East vs. WestThe Lakers may be eliminated, but the Heat are still shooting for the NBA Finals. Visit Heat or 3peat Central
King James put on a good show for the Queen of Soul, but at halftime, Franklin seemed more impressed with his teammate.
''Dwyane Wade is on tonight,'' she said.
Wade said he had his picture taken with Franklin at the half.
''She's a legend,'' he said. ''We're just glad she was able to come out here and support the Pistons, and support the Heat some as well.''
Wade threw down an impressive alley-oop dunk from James in the first quarter to give his team a 16-7 lead. Although the Pistons (20-34) trailed by only four after that quarter, Miami broke the game open with a 12-2 run to start the second.
Chris Bosh had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which had six players in double figures, including all five starters. Reserves Mike Miller and Eddie House made three-pointers during the run to start the second quarter, which Wade capped with a bank shot for a 37-23 lead.
Miami (39-14) later went on a 21-5 run to make it 64-41. The Heat led 64-43 at halftime and weren't seriously threatened after that.
It was a disappointing performance for Detroit, which lost by only a point in Miami on Jan. 28.
''I know this sounds crazy, but in the first half I thought we were playing hard,'' Detroit coach John Kuester said. ''I walked in at halftime, and I know we were down by 20, but I looked around it, and you've been in this business long enough, you know when you're down 20 and guys just don't want to play. These guys played hard.''
Before the game, representatives for Pistons owner Karen Davidson and investor Tom Gores acknowledged that Gores is negotiating to try to buy the team. If he does take control, he'll have a challenge on his hands rebuilding the Pistons, who never led against Miami. The Heat aren't known for their depth, but their starting five outscored Detroit's 77-41.
''They're good,'' Detroit big man Greg Monroe said. ''They're a defensive team, they're a good all-around team, on both sides of the court they're a good team. They came out and they wanted it more than us tonight.''
NOTES: Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh was also at the game. ... G Rodney Stuckey started for Detroit for the first time in eight games. He's been bothered by a right shoulder injury. ... Detroit's Richard Hamilton sat out with a sore right groin.