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Heat Beats Pistons, Lead NBA Eastern Conference Finals

The Miami Heat has pulled ahead of the Detroit Pistons as the teams battle to reach the National Basketball Association Finals.

Host Miami downed the defending champions Thursday, 88-76, in Game Five of the Eastern Conference finals.

The win gives the Heat a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series. Miami center Shaquille O'Neal led the Heat with 20 points.

Teammates Dwayne Wade and Damon Jones each added 15 points. Richard Hamilton led Detroit with a game-high 21 points. Miami will try to close the series when it moves back to Detroit for Game Six on Saturday.

The Eastern Conference winner will meet the West champion San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, which tip off June 9 in San Antonio. The Spurs last won the title in 2003.

Some information for this report provided by AP.