The Heat are on

Unexpected Miami duo burns Nets

Posted: Monday, April 25, 2005


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  Washington Wizards' Etan Thomas (36) catches a pass over his shoulder as Chicago Bulls' Tyson Chandler defends during the fourth quarter of game 1 of the first round of the NBA playoffs, Sunday, April 24, 2005, in Chicago. The Bulls won 103-94. AP Photo/Brian Kersey

Miami Heat's Alonzo Mourning shouts after scoting against the New Jersey Nets during the last second of the second quarter during game one of the Eastern Conference playoffs at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Sunday, April 24, 2005.

AP Photo/Luis Alvarez

MIAMI — Shaquille O'Neal didn't put up his customary big playoff numbers. Dwyane Wade and Damon Jones made sure it wasn't necessary.

Both of Miami's starting guards put up playoff career-highs in scoring, Wade getting 32 points and Jones 30 on 10-for-12 shooting Sunday to lead the top-seeded Heat to a 116-98 win over the New Jersey Nets in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

O'Neal, who suffered a deep right thigh bruise a week ago and has been hampered since, finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes. He was well off his 27.1-point career playoff scoring average, but with the way Miami's backcourt performed, the Heat didn't need a monster game from their center.

Damon Jones was 7-for-9 from 3-point range, getting 14 of his points in the final quarter. And Wade was 12-for-18 from the field, with eight assists as the Heat had two players score 30 or more in a playoff game for the first time in team history.

Vince Carter had 27 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which won 15 of its final 19 games to get the East's No. 8 seed, but is now 0-4 against Miami this season.

Jason Kidd added 18 points for the Nets, who have won just one playoff series — a first-rounder against Indiana in 2002 — after dropping a Game 1.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Miami.

After Jones and Wade made consecutive jumpers to give Miami its then-largest lead, 20 points, with 7:48 left, Carter's deep 3-pointer with 6:37 left capped a quick 7-0 run that drew the Nets within 99-86. But O'Neal scored the game's next three points, and the outcome was never in doubt again.

All-Star forward Richard Jefferson, who missed the final 49 games of New Jersey's regular season with a ruptured ligament in his left wrist, returned and had nine points on 3-for-7 shooting in 23 minutes.

Travis Best, Clifford Robinson and Nenad Krstic each had 11 points for New Jersey. Udonis Haslem had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Miami.

With Miami mired in an early 1-for-9 drought, New Jersey hit eight of 10 shots and took an 18-11 lead when Kidd made a layup with 4:38 left in the opening quarter.

The Heat, however, quickly got back on track.

Wade hit two jumpers in the final 32.4 seconds of the quarter to give Miami a 22-19 lead, and Alonzo Mourning — playing against the team he opened the season with — had consecutive baskets, including a big two-handed slam of a miss by Wade, early in the second quarter to fuel Miami's push to a 31-21 lead.

In the 20-3 run, Miami made eight of 13 shots. The Nets, meanwhile, missed 16 of 17 over an 11 1/2-minute stretch of the half, and trailed by as many as 16 late in the second quarter before going into halftime down 54-42.

Carter, who missed six of his first eight shots, was the primary reason why the game wasn't decided by halftime. His teammates combined for only 26 points on 32.1 percent shooting in the opening two quarters.

Allowing Miami to put together one big run was a hallmark of the Nets' three regular-season losses to the Heat. In those meetings, Miami used a 19-6 run in the first game, a 19-8 flurry in the second and a 28-7 burst in the third to turn close games into relatively one-sided affairs.

And once again, the Nets couldn't find a way to overcome the big Miami burst. New Jersey got within 10 points on four separate occasions in the third quarter, yet never cut the Heat margin into single digits and trailed 87-73 entering the fourth.

Bulls 103, Wizards 94


Washington Wizards' Etan Thomas (36) catches a pass over his shoulder as Chicago Bulls' Tyson Chandler defends during the fourth quarter of game 1 of the first round of the NBA playoffs, Sunday, April 24, 2005, in Chicago. The Bulls won 103-94.

AP Photo/Brian Kersey

CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie Ben Gordon scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter Sunday, lifting the short-handed Bulls to a 103-94 victory over the Washington Wizards and giving Chicago its first playoff victory since the dynasty days.

Fellow rookie Andres Nocioni also had a huge game, scoring 25 points and grabbing 18 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes.

Gordon scored 10 points as the Bulls opened the fourth quarter with a 13-4 run, then hit a 3 to put Chicago ahead for good, 87-84, with 8:18 to play.

Antawn Jamison pulled Washington within 94-92, but Gordon was right there again, scoring on a fast-break layup. The Wizards failed to score in the last 3:21.

The loss spoiled a superb night by Larry Hughes, who scored 24 of his 31 points in the first half on 10-of-12 shooting.

But the Wizards got little from the rest of their Big Three. Gilbert Arenas scored nine points — 16 below his average — on 3-of-19 shooting, and Jamison had 14 points.

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