O’Neal, Heat scorch Timberwolves
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Shaquille O’Neal scored a season-high 32 points
and pulled down nine rebounds as Miami downed Minnesota, 105-91.
Jason Williams added 20 points and six assists for the Heat, who won their
fifth straight game and for the 11th consecutive time at home. Eddie Jones
scored 15 points, and Alonzo Mourning chipped in with 14 for Miami,
which moved within 2 1/2 games of idle Washington in the Southeast
“As long as we keep the train moving and guys are jumping on and doing things
they have to do, we will be in great shape,” Heat coach Pat Riley said.
“Everyone is rallying around the defensive concepts and we are winning.”
Kevin Garnett tallied 23 points and 11 boards for the Timberwolves, who have
lost four of five games and seven of their last nine. Ricky Davis finished
with 21 points and Mark Blount had 17 points.
The Heat led by six points at the midway point but before they could take the
floor in the second half, the game was delayed for around 20 minutes after a
basket was damaged during the halftime show.
A number of performers were using trampolines to perform awe-inspiring dunks
and one of the rims was badly bent and needed to be replaced. After waiting
around, the Heat began to pull away in the third quarter.
Williams drained a three to give Miami a 10-point cushion, 71-61, with under
four minutes to go in the quarter. Mourning then capped the scoring in the
frame with a a pair of free throws and the Heat took an 81-69 lead into the
Miami continued to hold the ‘Wolves at arm’s length in the fourth quarter.
O’Neal’s reverse layup gave the Heat their largest lead of the night, 93-77,
with a little under six minutes to go.
Minnesota never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way as Miami coasted
to the finish line.
The Heat took a slim 29-25 advantage after the opening 12 minutes and extended
their lead to six, 50-44, at intermission.
Miami is now 20-10 at home this year…Minnesota is just 9-21 on the
road…The Heat shot a blistering 58 percent from the field.