The Heat said before the game they didn't agree with Wade's suspension for making contact with Charlotte's Ramon Sessions earlier in the week.
"That's no excuse. We still had enough," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Obviously, we're a different team with Dwyane, but we have enough depth that we should be able to overcome missing one guy for a night."
Miami breezed through the first quarter, taking a 10-0 lead and eventually making 11 of its first 14 shots. It was 32-17 after one, but the game turned almost immediately.
Detroit's bench was again outstanding. The Pistons scored the first 14 points of the second and finally took a 41-39 lead on Villanueva's 3-pointer.
The bench — specifically Villanueva, Bynum, Drummond and Daye — scored 36 of Detroit's 41 points in the quarter, and the Pistons went into halftime with a 58-52 lead.
And that was only the beginning. Miami didn't start the third quarter any better than the second, allowing nine straight points. Greg Monroe's basket made it 76-59, and although the Heat increased the pressure defensively, they didn't always get the results they wanted.
After Shane Battier and James made consecutive 3-pointers to pull Miami within nine, James thought he'd knocked the ball away from Jason Maxiell cleanly near midcourt. But a foul was called and Maxiell made one of two free throws to make it 79-69.
It was 81-71 after three.
NOTES: Udonis Haslem is now Miami's career leader with 620 games played, snapping a tie with Wade because of the suspension. Haslem appeared to hurt his right shoulder early on when landing hard after an acrobatic block on Kyle Singler, but he was able to play on. ... Drummond had 10 points and 10 rebounds. ... James and Bosh were the only Miami players to score in double figures.
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