Wednesday , Apr , 27 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Miami scorches Nets again for 2-0 lead

=== Miami scorches Nets again for 2-0 lead ===

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Alonzo Mourning had a season-high 21 points with
nine rebounds to lead the Miami Heat past the New Jersey Nets, 104-87, in Game
2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Dwyane Wade added 17 points and matched a playoff career-high with 10 assists
for the Heat, who will take a 2-0 series lead to New Jersey for Game 3 on
Thursday at Continental Airlines Arena.

Mourning, who started the season on the Nets roster, did all his damage in 16
minutes off the bench. The 21 points were the second most by a Heat reserve in
a playoff game, falling one short of Grant Long’s 22 against Atlanta in 1994.

“(Mourning) was unbelievable tonight,” said Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy.
“That is one of the most productive lines that you will ever see. He was
probably the biggest reason from a personnel standpoint that we won the game.”

Miami, which handled New Jersey in Game 1 on Sunday, 116-98, has posted back-
to-back 100-point performances in the playoffs for the first time in team
history.

Shaquille O’Neal had 14 points and 10 boards, while Damon Jones and Eddie
Jones each contributed 14 points, as well for the Heat, who are 8-1 in their
last nine playoff games at home and have never lost a playoff series when
they have won the first two games of the set.

Nenad Krstic had a playoff career-high 27 points for the Nets, who have never
come back to win a playoff series down 0-2. New Jersey has also lost five of
its last six on the road in the playoffs.

Vince Carter chipped in 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting for the Nets, while
Jason Kidd scored 10 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and
five steals.

There have only been eight NBA teams that have rallied to win a best-of-seven
series after losing the first two games. The last team to do it was O’Neal’s
Los Angles Lakers, who did it last year to knock out San Antonio in the
Western Conference semifinals.

“Miami did what they are supposed to do,” said Nets head coach Lawrence Frank.
“They have earned the number one seed, got home court advantage and held
serve. So we have to go back to Jersey and respond.”

Miami raced out to a 7-0 lead, but New Jersey clawed its way back and pulled
within one, 16-15, on Krstic’s layup. The Heat, though, closed the stanza on a
10-1 run and carried a 10-point advantage into the second quarter.

New Jersey managed to get as close as three in the early stages of the second,
but again it seemed as if Miami was just toying with it, as it quickly went
back ahead by double digits.

Mourning and Wade each had eight points to lead a well-balanced Miami scoring
attack in the first half, as the Heat carried a 48-39 advantage into the
locker room.

“I have been working my whole career to accomplish one goal and that is to win
a championship,” said Mourning. “It feels good to be part of a collective
group that has the same mentality as well.”

Krstic had 18 points to pace the Nets through the first 24 minutes.

“Nenad Kristic had a fabulous night,” Van Gundy remarked. “He is a great
rookie and is going to be a great player for them.”

Things got no better for New Jersey out of the break, as they trailed by
double-digits for a majority of the stanza and went into the final quarter
down by 17 points, 76-59.

Miami was never really threatened in the final 12 minutes and cruised to the
17-point win for its 22nd win in its last 23 tries at home. During the year
the Heat were an Eastern Conference-best 35-6 at home.

NJN MIA