Dwyane Wade got a second night off, and his first scoring title. Chris Quinn served ably as his fill-in.
Quinn made a 3-pointer late in overtime to give Miami the lead, took a charge to preserve it, then capped his career-best 26-point night with a running jumper with 6.8 seconds left as the Heat beat the Detroit Pistons 102-96 Wednesday night in the regular-season finale for both clubs.
The game meant nothing in the standings to either team, but Quinn played like it was Game 7.
“A lot of us guys, we haven’t been in that situation much this season,” Quinn said. “So to be out there in that situation, it was a lot of fun.”
Michael Beasley scored 12 of his 22 points in the first quarter for Miami, but left midway through the third quarter after getting hit near the right eye by the Pistons’ Amir Johnson and did not return. He was not seriously injured, and the Heat expect him to be able to practice Thursday.
Kwame Brown finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds for Detroit.
“We didn’t want to come out here and have a lackluster performance just because the game was meaningless,” Brown said. “We wanted to come out and play hard so that we could get a win to take us over into the playoffs.”
When the Eastern Conference playoffs open this weekend, No. 5 Miami will be at No. 4 Atlanta, and No. 8 Detroit takes on No. 1 Cleveland.
The Heat trailed by six with 3:57 left in regulation, before Quinn scored 12 points and made Miami’s last four baskets, including three from 3-point range.
“He’s got some guts, I’ll tell you that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He was making virtually every play for us down at the end.”
Jason Maxiell scored 16 for Detroit, as did Will Bynum. Rodney Stuckey added 15 for the Pistons.
Mario Chalmers, who started all 82 games in his rookie season, finished with 10 assists for the Heat. Jamaal Magloire added 14 points and nine rebounds for Miami, and James Jones finished with 13 points.
“We had to make up for some of our missing pieces,” Magloire said. “The second unit had to step up.”
Just as he did Tuesday night in Atlanta, Wade sat on the bench in a suit, resting up for the postseason. He finished averaging 30.2 points, becoming Miami’s first scoring champion—1.8 points better than Cleveland’s LeBron James, last year’s top scorer. Wade’s previous best finish in the league scoring race came in Miami’s championship season of 2005-06, when he was fifth.
Wade was among several regulars on both sides who were held out.
Miami (43-39) also played without Jermaine O’Neal, Jamario Moon and Udonis Haslem, who will have stitches removed from his right thumb in time for the playoff opener.
Detroit (39-43, its worst record in nine seasons) sat Richard Hamilton and Antonio McDyess, while holding Tayshaun Prince—who played in his 494th straight game and started for the league-best 437th consecutive contest—to 9 1/2 minutes, the same amount of time that Rasheed Wallace got before taking the rest of the night off.
“The only reason I wanted to sit him was if a guy got hurt in that situation, you’d kind of second-guess it. But he missed a lot of games and doesn’t feel comfortable with where his game is right now,” Detroit coach Michael Curry said. “So it’s kind of a thing with him needing to get out there and get some stuff going.”
For Spoelstra, his 43rd victory helped him pass Pat Riley and Stan Van Gundy for the most in Miami history by a coach in his first season with the franchise. Riley was 42-40 in 1995-96; Van Gundy was 42-40 in 2003-04, Wade’s rookie season.
The mood for the Heat was far more festive than in last season’s finale, when Miami had the NBA’s worst record at 15-67 and Riley’s Hall of Fame coaching career came to a close.
“You look around the league, usually the teams that are in the basement one year are going to likely not be a playoff team that next year,” Spoelstra said. “They’re going to be somewhere still in the lottery, sometimes for several years, which is a very miserable existence. The fact that we were able to turn it around and matter as a franchise, I think is rewarding.”