EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J., May 1 (Ticker) --
In a flash, the Miami
Heat swept the New Jersey Nets to get some needed rest.
had 34 points and nine assists as the Heat completed
the first four-game sweep in franchise history with a 110-97
victory over the undermanned Nets.
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The top-seeded Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference
semifinals for the second straight year and will have a week in
South Beach as they await the winner of the Chicago-Washington
Nicknamed "Flash" by superstar teammate Shaquille O'Neal
was simply unstoppable throughout the series. He averaged 26.4
points, 8.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent
from the field.
"My teammates depend on me a lot more (than last season)," Wade
said. "I know I'm young in the playoffs, but I just know what I
have to do a lot more."
"We never could get a handle on him," Nets coach Lawrence Frank
said. "He showed why he's a real special player."
The All-Star guard's big series took the pressure off O'Neal,
who still is nursing a bruised thigh and was less than his
customary overwhelming presence. At no time was that more
evident than the first half of the clincher, as Wade scored 21
points to cover for O'Neal, who was scoreless with three fouls.
"My teammates carried me this whole series," O'Neal said. "I'm
very impressed with (Wade). He's a great player and a great guy.
He's doing a great job of raising his level. He's the best
second-year pupil I've had in my whole life, and I've had a lot
O'Neal scored all 17 of his points in the second half, including
10 in the third quarter, when Miami took the lead for good.
Early in the final period, his dunk off a feed from Wade made it
"I just adjusted a little bit and came out and hit shots," said
O'Neal, who made six of his final seven attempts. "I never get
Jason Kidd halved the deficit with a 3-pointer, but the Heat
answered with a pair of demoralizing shots - a 3-pointer by
reserve Keyon Dooling
and a layup by Wade, who threw an inbounds
pass off the back of Vince Carter
, took the carom and scored.
Wade added a three-point play off a reverse layup and dish to
for a dunk and a 94-84 advantage with 5:22 left.
The Nets got no closer than eight points thereafter.
scored 21 points for the Heat, who had six players
in double figures for the third time and shot better than 50
percent for the series.
"We couldn't guard them," Frank said. "Wade is just
outstanding. Shaq is Shaq. He's a one-man force."
The extra time off should help both O'Neal and Wade, who went to
the floor hard twice in the fourth quarter, hurting his back
and his lip.
"It's very important, but we didn't use (rest) as motivation,"
O'Neal said. "We just tried to come out and take care of
business. We knew that if we did what we were supposed to, we
"Being in Miami for two days without any work is heaven," guard
Kidd scored 25 points and Carter added 23 on just 6-of-22
shooting for the eighth-seeded Nets, who won 15 of their last 19
games to make the playoffs but ran into a brick wall. They were
swept out of the postseason for the eighth time in franchise
"We had to fight like heck to get here, but it was all worth
it," Carter said. "It was unfortunate we weren't able to pull
"Being the eighth seed and making it to the playoffs is not
something I strive to accomplish," Kidd said. "Anybody can do
that. The last two years we haven't come close, so I want to get
back to playing for that trophy."
Wade scored 14 points in the first quarter, capping it with a
dunk at the buzzer as Miami bolted to a 27-16 lead. Kidd scored
11 points in the final six minutes of the first half as New
Jersey closed to 48-47.
"I had to come in at halftime and readjust my football pads. I
saw a lot of them were playing football," O'Neal said.
A layup by O'Neal gave the Heat the lead for good at 61-60
midway through the third period. A pair of 3-pointers by Eddie Jones,
who scored 11 points in the quarter, helped build the lead to
78-70 entering the fourth.
New Jersey tried to stay close in the final minutes by fouling
Miami, which went 14-of-18 from the line in the fourth quarter.
That prompted O'Neal to find a new nickname for Frank.
"I wish they would go to a manly tactic, instead of just
whining," he said. "Instead of fighting, I just heard him
whining, which is why I call him Laura Frank."