O’Neal pushes Heat past Nets
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Shaquille O’Neal poured in 21 points and grabbed
nine rebounds to guide the Miami Heat past the New Jersey Nets, 91-85, at
O’Neal finished 10-of-16 from the floor and Dwyane Wade had 17 points and five
assists for Miami, which was coming off a disappointing 108-66 loss to Chicago
in its season opener. Gary Payton added 14 points and five assists in the win.
Vince Carter led all scorers with 27 points and Nenad Krstic posted 20 points
on 7-of-11 shooting for the Nets, who won their season opener versus Toronto.
The game was tied at 73-73 with just under six minutes to play following a
Carter jumper, but the Heat played front-runner from there.
On Miami’s next possession, James Posey drained a three that gave his team a
76-73 edge and put the Heat up for good.
“Trying will go a long way,” said Heat head coach Pat Riley. “I’m not saying
we didn’t try against Chicago, we were just a step and a half behind them.”
The scoring went quiet for nearly two minutes until O’Neal hit a running hook
shot with 3:40 on the clock that made it a five-point game.
A 7-3 run by New Jersey, which Richard Jefferson capped on a three-point
play, brought the Nets to within one with about 2 1/2 minutes on the clock.
Posey answered immediately with a three, however, and Miami outscored its
opponent 10-5 down the stretch.
“It was tough. It is another step, another lesson,” Carter said. “We need to
look at the tape and see where we can get better.”
The Heat held a 43-41 halftime lead over the Nets despite not having a single
player in double-figures. O’Neal and Antoine Walker each donated nine apiece,
while Wade saw limited action because of foul trouble and ended with seven
The Heat trailed 57-52 midway through the third following a Krstic jumper, but
quickly responded with five unanswered points to draw even, and finished the
third up by one.
New Jersey had won the past three regular season meetings versus the
Heat…Posey scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter…The Nets
shot 39 percent from the field.