Monday , Apr , 19 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Wade drives Heat past Hornets

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Dwyane Wade scored on a runner in the lane with
1.3 seconds left to lift Miami to an 81-79 win over New Orleans in the opener
of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Wade ended with a game-high 21 points in his first-ever post-season game for
the fourth-seeded Heat, who are appearing in the playoffs for the first time
since they were swept by the Hornets in the opening round of the 2001
post-season.

Lamar Odom added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which will host Game 2
of this best-of-seven series on Wednesday. Rafer Alston chipped in 13 points
in the win.

Baron Davis netted 17 points and Jamaal Magloire contributed 14 points and 11
boards for the fifth-seeded Hornets, who have never won a best-of-seven series
in the franchise’s history. The four first-round wins by the club all came
under the old best-of-five series format.

Trailing by two late in the game, P.J. Brown hit a field goal from the left
side to tie the score at 79-79 with 53.9 seconds remaining. The Heat then
turned the ball over with 35 seconds remaining and New Orleans regained
possession.

Davis’ driving layup as the shot clock was winding down missed and did not hit
the rim. After the ball got batted around, Brown grabbed the rebound, but the
Hornets were whistled for a 24-second violation with 10 seconds left.

Miami took over and called timeout to set up the final play. On the inbounds,
Wade received the ball and eventually drove the lane, where he converted a
runner to put Miami ahead 81-79 with 1.3 seconds left.

“I tried to go one way and he [Baron Davis] cut me off, and after that I knew
I had to hurry and make a play,” said Wade. “The only thing I was worried
about was getting the ball. Once I had it, I was confident.”

New Orleans was not able to get a shot off on the final possession as the
inbounds pass was deflected away.

“Losing is the hardest thing about this game,” said Magloire. “Everybody’s
taking it personal and we’re going to come back out with a vengeance.”

The Heat led by seven points after three quarters and extended their advantage
to 73-63 on two free throws by Caron Butler with 8:33 remaining in the game.

Wade’s breakaway dunk made it 77-65 with around 7 1/2 minutes left and it
appeared Miami would coast to the victory.

However, New Orleans then reeled off nine straight points, keyed by two three-
pointers from Davis, to close within 77-74 with 3:18 left.

The Hornets had a chance to get even closer, but David Wesley missed a jump
shot and Alston then put an end to the drought as he netted a jumper for a
five-point lead. Wesley was then fouled and made 1-of-2 from the foul line to
make it 79-75 with 2:01 remaining.

Odom then turned the ball over and Stacey Augmon made the Heat pay as he
drained a turnaround jumper to bring New Orleans within two points. On its
ensuing possession, Miami was whistled for a 24-second violation and the
Hornets got possession with just under one minute to play, setting up the
dramatic ending.

“We basically put the ball in one of two guys’ hands in that situation,” said
Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy. “It’s going to be either Lamar or Wade. I
thought they were playing Lamar very well, so I thought we’d give Dwyane a
look, and see if he could make the play and he did.”

The Heat raced out to a 9-3 lead, capped by Udonis Haslem’s basket, but New
Orleans used a 9-0 surge to claim a 12-9 advantage midway through the period.
Miami trailed by four on two occasions in the quarter, but rallied to grab a
23-22 edge after one period.

The Hornets were able to open a 31-26 lead in the second as the Heat went cold
from the field. New Orleans widened the gap to 38-28 on Wesley’s three-
pointer with just under five minutes left in the half. Miami finally got
something going on the offensive end as it used a 9-2 run to pull within 40-37
late in the quarter. New Orleans took a 44-41 lead into the locker room.

The Heat missed their first 15 shots of the second period before Odom finally
hit a jumper with just under three minutes remaining to stop a shooting
drought of nearly 8 1/2 minutes.

Odom scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Davis netted 10 in the
opening 24 minutes.

In the third quarter, Miami came back and grabbed the lead as Wade’s driving
layup with 6:44 left made it 52-50. Wade’s basket just under four minutes
later stretched the edge to 62-57 and the Heat widened the gap to 66-59 after
three periods.

Wade scored nine points in the period as the Hornets were outscored by a 25-15
margin in the frame.

“I thought our third quarter was tremendous and the way we need to play,” said
Van Gundy.

NO MIA