Thursday , Mar , 08 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Heat scorching in Miami

(Sports Network) – The Miami Heat may have lost Dwyane Wade for a while, but
they haven’t lost a step at home.

The Heat have won 10 games in a row as the host, a stretch that started long
before Wade suffered a dislocated left shoulder on February 21 in Houston.
However, Wade wasn’t in the lineup the day Miami started its run either, nor
was center Shaquille O’Neal.

One day after a six-point setback to Dallas on January 21 at AmericanAirlines
Arena, the Heat ripped off a franchise-record 27 straight points in the first
quarter en route to a 101-83 win over the New York Knicks.

Miami hasn’t looked back since. The Heat eventually got both Wade and O’Neal
back, before losing Wade again, and even heavyweights such as Cleveland, San
Antonio and Detroit couldn’t derail the streaking Heat.

Miami recorded its 10th straight win at home on Wednesday against the Bulls.
Eddie Jones had 23 points in the 103-70 blowout win, while O’Neal posted 24
points, nine boards, and eight assists.

The Heat have jumped up to the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, and are
just three games behind Washington for the lead in the Southeast standings.

Luckily for Miami, which is now 19-10 as the host this season, it is in the
midst of a six-game homestand that still includes visits by Minnesota,
Washington and Utah.

With Wade out indefinitely, O’Neal has been shouldering a good portion of the
load. However, he is receiving help.

Lately, it’s been Jones lending his aid. The 12-year veteran was reacquired by
the Heat this season on February 1 after he was waived by Memphis and is
averaging 22 points over his last two games and 16.5 points over his last four
outings.

“He’s really helped us,” Miami head coach Pat Riley said of Jones after a win
over Atlanta on Monday. “I think when he gets in better condition, and starts
feeling comfortable, we’ll have more nights like tonight.”

Despite their recent success, the Heat still have a ways to go to match their
best-ever run on their home floor. That performance came in 2005 when Miami
posted 18 straight wins as the host from January 23 through April 5.

MIA