Guard Ray Allen, who started in place of inactive Dwyane Wade, pumped in 18 points as Miami (16-5) avenged its 107-97 home loss to Detroit on Tuesday that ended a 10-game winning streak. Wade sat out on the second part of a back-to-back to rest his sore knees.
"We wanted to play much better against them this time," James said. "Obviously, this is a big team to try to keep off the glass. They still out-rebounded us but we did a great job of staying close and we executed offensively and defensively."
Detroit had a 44-34 rebounding advantage and a 21-6 advantage in second-chance points but got outplayed in every other aspect. Miami shot 55.6 percent from the field, held the Pistons to 41.9 percent shooting, forced 19 turnovers and never trailed.
"Those guys are pogo sticks and there's not much you can do when they're playing above the rim like that," Heat forward Shane Battier said. "Once they catch it, you try to wall them up and keep them pinned on the baseline so they don't have an easy shot."
Center Chris Bosh supplied 16 points and nine rebounds and recorded his 1,500th career assist to give the Heat some momentum entering a showdown game Tuesday against Indiana, which has the league‘s best record.
"Obviously, everybody is going to make it as a marquee game on Tuesday but I don't really get too much involved in regular-season matchups, especially early in December," James said. "They're a great team right now, the way they're playing basketball. We're trying to get healthy, trying to get to our full potential. We'll see what we can do. We look forward to the opportunity to go in and play them on Tuesday but it's not like it's a statement game for us."
Second-year center Andre Drummond notched his 15th double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds while point guard Brandon Jennings had 19 points and six assists for the Pistons (10-11). Forward Josh Smith chipped in 13 points.
"From what I saw, we just didn't have enough energy tonight," Pistons forward Kyle Singler said. "We didn't really start off that great. At home you would like see us play with a little bit more energy."
The Heat took control by outscoring the Pistons 32-17 in the third quarter for a 91-70 lead. Miami opened the half with a 15-4 run, capped by James' steal and layup to make it 74-57. Guard Roger Mason Jr. gave the Heat a 20-point lead, 84-64, with a 3-pointer off a James pass.
NOTES: Detroit last won five consecutive games in December 2009. ... Miami SG Dwyane Wade, who missed his sixth game of the season Sunday, scored 19 points in 32 minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. "I'm encouraged by how he looks physically," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's the most important thing. He's going to get better and quicker as the season goes on. We want to be very diligent and judicious early on to make sure he's taking forward steps instead of backward steps." ... Pistons SG Rodney Stuckey, who missed his second game of the season, is averaging 15.4 points. "He's been such a vital part of us up to this point," Detroit coach Mo Cheeks said. "We look to him to give us a spark off the bench." ... Detroit was 30th in defensive field-goal percentage prior to the win streak but was up 22nd by Sunday. "Our defense has gotten a little better," Cheeks said. "We've been more aggressive on the ball and in trying to take away paint points." ... Prior to Sunday, F Shane Battier took nine charges this season, nearly half of the Heat's total of 19.