EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., April 28 (Ticker)
--Instead of racing past
the New Jersey Nets, the Miami Heat were forced to outlast them.
and Alonzo Mourning
made crucial hustle plays in
the second overtime as the Heat scrambled and scraped for a
108-105 victory over the Nets and a commanding 3-0 lead in their
Eastern Conference first-round series.
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scored 25 points and Dwyane Wade
added 22, 10
rebounds and eight assists for top-seeded Miami, which relied on
role players rather than superstars for its first road playoff
win in five years.
"We continue to destroy the notion that we're a two-man team,"
Five straight points by O'Neal gave the Heat a 99-97 lead late
in the first overtime. After going more than three minutes
without a basket, the Nets tied it as a baseline jumper by Vince Carter
rattled out, off the backboard and back in at the
"I had missed a three-pointer earlier and I wanted another
opportunity," said Carter, who made 15-of-37 shots. "I got
lucky. We were fortunate, it gave us a new life."
The game was still tied, 102-102, when Haslem put home a missed
drive by Wade with 1:28 to play. Haslem had 14 points and 19
After Richard Jefferson
missed a potential tying layup, Haslem
was fouled with 20 seconds left. He made the first and missed
the second, but Mourning - a former Net who was booed throughout
the game - ran down the rebound and called timeout.
"I was yelling timeout and someone else was yelling timeout and
fortunately, the referee heard it and we got the ball," Mourning
said. "Someone had my arm, someone had my neck, but I wanted
it. That's winning time."
After getting the call, Mourning jumped to his feet and leaped
in the air, pumping his fist and drawing more boos from the
"All that does is add fuel to the fire," Mourning said of the
hostile crowd. "That makes me play harder. That's the worst
thing to do to me."
"He wanted this game bad and you saw his emotion after that
rebound," Wade said. "That's just Zo."
Wade sank three free throws around another hustle play by
Haslem, who wrestled the ball away from Cliff Robinson
"Guys are just playing unselfish and doing the small things and
that's what it takes," said O'Neal, who is still bothered by
bruised thigh. "I'm trying to get over some ailments that I
have. I'm getting better, but we're doing a good job of playing
Carter had 36 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and
registered his eighth career playoff triple-double with 16,
13 and a career playoff-high 16 boards for the Nets, who again
relied heavily on their perimeter play but appeared to fade down
"It's tough," Carter said. "You play against the best team in
the East and you take them to double overtime and you have them
on the ropes, you want to take advantage. It just didn't
had his best game of the series with 23 points
off the bench, including a number of dunks that seemed to
rejuvenate the Nets for short periods.
But New Jersey made only one basket in the final 3 1/2 minutes
of regulation, one in the last three minutes of the first OT and
one in the last four minutes of the second OT.
"We came up a little short and we had every opportunity to win
this game," Nets coach Lawrence Frank
said. "We're down 3-0,
the series is not over. We need to find a way to regroup."
The Nets were just 1-of-9 in the second overtime before Carter
ended a scoring drought of nearly four minutes with a 3-pointer
in the final seconds. It was New Jersey's first basket since
Carter buried a hook shot with 4:16 left.
scored 20 points, Keyon Dooling
13 and Damon Jones
12 for the Heat, who had six players in double figures before
the end of the third quarter.
Miami can complete the first four-game sweep in franchise
history with a win Sunday in Game Four. No NBA team has ever
come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
Both teams struggled at the line, where Miami was just 22-of-38
and New Jersey 18-of-27. But the Heat buried 10-of-22
3-pointers while the Nets were 3-of-23, continually launching
from the arc despite their struggles.
"We just have to knock down open shots when we get them," Carter
New Jersey squandered an early 10-point lead and was forced to
rally in the second half, bridging the final two quarters with a
13-2 run to take a 77-76 edge with 9:34 left in regulation.
Carter buried a three-pointer for a 90-86 edge with 1:48 left. But
O'Neal made 1-of-2 free throws 14 seconds later and Eddie Jones
buried a game-tying 3-pointer with 60 seconds to go.
The Nets missed their next five shots of regulation, including a
wide-open three-pointer by Kidd as time expired.
Miami also had chances to put away the game earlier, but Eddie
Jones missed two free throws with 11 seconds left in the first
overtime. Carter sent the game into another extra period with
his suspenseful fadeaway jumper from the right baseline that
keep the Nets alive.
"I thought once it hit every piece of the rim and fell in, we
had another opportunity," Kidd said. "Anytime you have an
opportunity like that against a team like Miami you have to take
advantage of it."
"I was upset about that," Jones said. "I'm an 80 percent
shooter and to go up there and clank two, it's tough. But we
Carter and O'Neal traded baskets to open the second overtime,
but Miami scored seven of the next eight points to seal the win
as New Jersey missed eight straight shots.