MIAMI, March 29 (Ticker) --
By the time Morris Peterson
and Sam Mitchell
lost their cool, Shaquille O'Neal
and Dwyane Wade
were well on
their way to keeping the Miami Heat cooking at home.
O'Neal and Wade continued to show they are one of the NBA's best
tandems as the Heat extended their franchise-record home
winning streak to 17 games with a 103-91 victory over the
Toronto Raptors, who unraveled down the stretch.
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Coming off Saturday's surprising 94-92 loss at expansion
Charlotte, the Heat let the Raptors hang around for three
quarters before taking over the game in the fourth period.
After Eric Williams
' 3-pointer gave the Raptors an 81-79 with
10:12 remaining, the Heat used a 15-2 run to take control.
"We hung in there long enough and then had a great fourth
quarter," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy
O'Neal's dunk with 4:15 to go gave the Heat an 89-83 lead. Just
29 seconds later, Wade was the recipient of a hard foul by
Peterson, who was ejected for continuing to jaw at the Heat star
after each had already picked up one technical foul.
"Once the play was over, he fouled me again, and I let him know
that he can't do that," said Wade, who made 13-of-16 free
throws. "It's unfortunate that it went beyond what it should
made the free throw, Wade knocked down his two
attempts and Jones capped the burst with a layup with 3:25 to
Mitchell, the Raptors' coach, joined Peterson in the locker room
after he was ejected with under two minutes remaining.
"There's nothing I can say that won't get me fined," Mitchell
said. "You have three or four guys cursing at each other. How do
you determine which one said the worst of the profanities?
It's beyond me."
O'Neal scored 28 points and Wade had 27 and eight assists for
the Heat (54-18), who are percentage points behind Phoenix for
the NBA's best record. Miami is 10 games in front of Detroit
and on the verge of clinching the Eastern Conference's best
"It was an even game for three quarters," O'Neal said. "We
pulled away in the fourth and beat a team that we're supposed to
Jones added 11 points and 11 rebounds before leaving late in the
contest after landing awkwardly on his ankle. X-rays were
"I've had ankle sprains before, and I knew I wouldn't be able to
play for a while," Jones said. "I don't feel the same way this
time. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to come in here tomorrow and
scored 19 points and Peterson had 15 for Toronto
(29-41), which lost for the fifth time in seven games and is on
the cusp of being eliminated from the playoff race.
O'Neal got off to a hot start, making 6-of-8 shots and scoring
18 points in the first half which ended tied at 51-51. Chris Bosh
had 10 of his 16 points in the first half for Toronto.
scored 14 points for Miami, which shot 49 percent
(38-of-78) and held a 44-38 rebounding advantage. Toronto shot
43 percent (35-of-81).