AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Dwyane Wade has seen Joe Johnson come through in the clutch many times during their careers. Wade is relishing those moments now that they're wearing the same uniform.

Johnson scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat moved into a first-place tie in the Southeast Division by downing the Detroit Pistons 99-93 on Tuesday night at The Palace.

Johnson was responsible for 17 of the Heat's last 20 points, adding an assist during his late flurry. He signed with Miami after the veteran small forward reached a buyout agreement with Brooklyn in late February and cleared waivers.

"It's better seeing it on this side of the ball," said Wade, who chipped in 14 points. "I've seen it as a defender, as an opponent, but it's so good to see it on your team. We have different guys we can go to, to take over or make plays, to be aggressive, and tonight was Joe's night."

The Heat pulled even with Atlanta in the division and improved their chances of getting home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Miami completes its regular season on Wednesday at Boston. A victory there would clinched the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

They couldn't have done it without Johnson, who collected his third 20-point outing since joining the club.

"We were running plays through Joe and he's making the reads," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's under control, surveying the defense, waiting for the defense to slip up or make a mistake. When you get into the last six minutes of a close game, that kind of presence has a calming effect on everybody else."

Johnson got hot after he subbed in for Wade.

"We were getting stops, and I checked in the game and made a desperation three. Then I caught one in rhythm," he said. "As a scorer, that's all you need is a couple of them to go in."

Luol Deng contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds and Goran Dragic had 16 points for the Heat (48-33). Hassan Whiteside added 14 points and nine rebounds.

Heat rookie forward Justise Winslow sat out with an ankle sprain.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Detroit (43-38) with 17 points, and Marcus Morris supplied 16 points and nine rebounds. Tobias Harris also scored 16 points and Andre Drummond chipped in nine while grabbing 18 rebounds.

With the loss, combined with Indiana's victory over New York on Tuesday, the Pistons are locked into the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They will face top-seeded Cleveland in the first round.

"We are going to have to play a lot better in the playoffs than we did tonight," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That's for sure. We are not beating Cleveland with that kind of offensive performance."

Detroit's leading scorer, point guard Reggie Jackson, was a late scratch because of an abdominal strain. Jackson scored 39 points in a 112-99 victory over Washington on Friday night that clinched the Pistons' first playoff berth since the 2008-09 season.

"It's annoying. You go through your pregame routine and it's just not your night," Jackson said. "I had planned to play. I'm happy with the matchup but just wish I could have been out there with my teammates."

Neither team led by more than five points during the first three quarters.

Dragic made two jumpers early in the fourth quarter to nudge Miami's lead to five. Johnson fired in back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 85-78 with 5:26 remaining. Johnson added a short jumper for a nine-point lead.

The Pistons chipped away and got within four at 93-89 when Morris tossed in a 3-pointer with 1:24 remaining. Johnson then finished off Detroit with a corner triple.

NOTES: Heat C Hassan Whiteside's 3.69 blocks-average is higher than the team total of the Pistons, who rank last in that category at 3.61. ... Detroit C Andre Drummond's 66 double-doubles entering the game ranked second in franchise history behind Bob Lanier's 69 during the 1972-73 season. ... Miami was 15-0 when holding opponents below 90 points. ... The Heat have a winning record against every division except the Pacific. They were 5-5 against Pacific Division clubs. ... The Pistons rank second in the NBA in second-chance points at 14.8 per game, trailing only Oklahoma City's 15.7. ... Detroit will finish with a winning record for the first time since the 2007-08 season. ... Miami SF Justise Winslow leads the team in games played. "He's earned his minutes," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It hasn't at all been about development. He's a competitor and that's probably one of his strongest suits."