Miami Heat Coach Pat Riley knew he would have a matchup problem last night in Detroit. He just didn't realize how bad it was going to be.
Playing against much smaller players such as Travis Best and Eddie House, Detroit guard Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 34 points as the Pistons routed the Heat, 93-62, in Auburn Hills, Mich.
"We were just totally overmatched at that position," Riley said of the 6-foot-7 Hamilton. "We're too short to play against him -- he just went over the top on us all night long."
Hamilton, who scored 16 points as Detroit blew open the game in the third quarter, is averaging 28.5 points in Detroit's last four games.
"Things are just getting better and better since the [all-star] break," Hamilton said. "The guys are getting me the ball for open shots, and I've been able to knock them down. I think a lot of it has to do with finally getting in a rhythm. We had a lot of new guys this year, and even when the defense was there, it took a while for the offense to get comfortable."
Detroit has now won eight of nine games, while the Heat has dropped three of four.
"We've got a lot of guys playing hard and playing well," Pistons Coach Rick Carlisle said. "Ben Wallace was enormous on the glass again with 19 rebounds and Rip got on a roll unlike any I have seen in quite some time."
Miami was without leading scorer Eddie Jones, who missed his third straight game with a strained groin, and finished with its lowest point total of the season.
Cliff Robinson scored15 points, and Michael Curry matched a season-high with 11 for Detroit.
Caron Butler led Miami with 13 points and Rasual Butler added 10. Miami shot just 33.3 percent and was out-rebounded, 51-36.
"This was a really embarrassing performance," Riley said. "We were absolutely not competitive."
Detroit took advantage of the slumping Heat right from the start, jumping out to a 26-14 lead in the first quarter.
"That's how we need to handle teams," Wallace said. "We can't let teams get back into games when we have them down -- we have to keep playing hard and put them away. It is good to see us doing that lately."
The Pistons led by 36 in the fourth while handing Miami its worst loss of the season.
"We've been known for our pride and hard work, but we didn't have any of that tonight," Brian Grant said. "Detroit plays basketball the way we are supposed to be playing it -- no tricks, no gimmicks, just straight-up basketball. As a captain of this team, it is my job to make sure we never do this again."
* JAZZ 109, TIMBERWOLVES 97: Karl Malone had 28 points and nine rebounds to counter a 34-point, 10-rebound night from Minnesota all-star Kevin Garnett as Utah overcame an early 11-point deficit to romp in Salt Lake City.