EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., March 3 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade carried the Miami Heat in Shaquille O'Neal's absence. He did the same with the big man back in the lineup.

Wade scored 27 points and dished out eight assists and O'Neal collected 20 points and 13 rebounds in his return as the Heat rallied for a 106-90 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

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O'Neal missed Miami's previous three games after straining his left knee two minutes into a loss to Chicago on February 22. While he was out, Wade averaged 30.3 points and 7.7 assists.

After a slow start, Miami recovered from a 14-point deficit and dominated the final 30 minutes behind another stellar performance from Wade, who had missed five of his first six shots. The Heat climbed within 48-44 at halftime and rode their young superstar in a lopsided third quarter.

"The bad thing with Dwyane is that you start to take all those types of games for granted," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He had the ball and was making all the plays."

Miami made 11-of-17 shots in the quarter and Wade was involved in all but one basket, making four and assisting on six. He scored six points during an 8-0 run to close the period as the Heat built a 76-65 lead heading into the fourth.

"We got it going in the last six minutes of the second quarter, and it just carried over to the second half," Wade said.

"We just had to wake up," O'Neal said. "They came out pretty fast. Most teams, when they play us, play way above their heads. They want to shoot the ball too fast. In order to beat us, you're going to have to play like that for 48 minutes."

New Jersey made only 5-of-21 shots in the third period and never got closer than seven in the fourth, when Miami led by as many as 19.

O'Neal played 33 minutes in his first game in more than a week, but Wade still was the focal point of the offense.

"I felt pretty good being out there with the guys," O'Neal said. "My knee felt pretty good."

The Nets tried fouling O'Neal on consecutive possessions for Miami in the final four minutes, but the All-Star center thwarted the popular strategy by making all four of his free throws.

"Most of the time, I make those shots," said O'Neal, who finished 8-of-11 from the line. "I don't know why people think that works."

"You're looking to try to change momentum and, somehow, we couldn't get it," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We tried it and it didn't work."

With a layup at the 4:01 mark of the second quarter, O'Neal moved past Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor and into 18th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. O'Neal finished the game with 23,159 career points, 18 behind Adrian Dantley.

Vince Carter scored 27 points but made only 7-of-21 shots. He went 2-of-15 after the first quarter as Miami tightened its defense.

"We didn't win, plain and simple," Carter said. "They stepped their defense up. They stepped their intensity up and we didn't answer. If you don't answer and let the other team get going, especially another team like that, (bad) things happen."

Nenad Krstic added 11 points and Jason Kidd collected 10, six rebounds and five assists as the Nets had a three-game winning streak snapped.

The game marked the beginning of the second stint with the Heat for Alonzo Mourning, who signed with the club Tuesday.

Mourning, who starred for the Heat for seven seasons before health issues forced him to miss the 2002-03 campaign, played 12 games with New Jersey last season and 18 this campaign before being shipped to Toronto - where he refused to report - in a deal that involved Carter.

The Raptors eventually bought out Mourning's contract, opening the door for a return to Miami. Mourning had two rebounds and an assist in two minutes in his first appearance since December 7.

"It felt good (to play). It felt better just putting on that jersey and at the end of all of this just coming out with a win," he said. "That's what I came here for, to contribute to this team winning by any means necessary."

The Nets had a 39-25 lead midway through the second quarter after making 16 of their first 28 shots. But they shot just 32 percent (30-of-80) thereafter and were outscored, 79-50.

After missing 19 of their first 28 shots, Miami recovered to shoot better than 62 percent (28-of-45) the rest of the way.