Williams, Mourning Lead Heat Past Kings
Miami 98, Sacramento 87
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 2 (Ticker) -- The Miami Heat used an outside attack sparked by Jason Williams. The Sacramento Kings found the inside well-protected by Alonzo Mourning.
Williams made four of his team's season-high 11 3-pointers and Mourning blocked seven shots as the Heat continued their road trip with a 98-87 victory over the Kings.
"The first half we could not stop them, but we were able to score pretty easily," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I know our offense will be up and down all year, but when we compete that hard it makes us so much better."
Miami never trailed after the opening moments thanks to Williams, who victimized his former team. Hearing some boos despite his departure five years ago, the former King sank four 3-pointers and scored 16 points to help the Heat open a 57-48 lead.
"It's not about coming back here," Williams said. "I do that every night, just try to make it easier on (Wade) when guys double-team. When he kicks me the ball, I try to knock it down."
In the first half, Miami made 8-of-14 from behind the arc.
Sacramento spent the second half putting together rallies that were repeatedly turned back by Mourning, who leads the NBA in blocked shots. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year already has six games this season of five or more blocks.
"That's something I've been doing my whole career," Mourning said. "I'm not worried about numbers anymore. I'm worried about coming into the game and doing what I can to make sure this team is successful. Numbers just get you a pat on the back at the end of your career. I want a ring."
"We never got over the hump, but we kept fighting," Kings guard Mike Bibby said. "They made shots and Zo was a big presence down there blocking shots."
Despite the absence of Shaquille O'Neal for all but two games, the Heat have been atop the Southeast Division most of the season thanks in no small part to the selfless play of Mourning, who underwent a kidney transplant two years ago.
"Alonzo is the most amazing player in the game," Williams said. "He's so quiet and he doesn't take any credit for anything. But without him we wouldn't be where we're at."
Williams appreciates having a force like Mourning guarding the lane but remembers all too well what it was like before they became teammates.
"I don't think I went to the hole when I played against Alonzo," Williams said. "I certainly wouldn't go to the hole against him now."
The Kings were within 82-75 when Mourning swatted away shots by Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Kenny Thomas on the same possession, leading to two free throws by Wade with 9:14 left.
After a runner by Abdur-Rahim made it 94-87 with 2:31 to go, Mourning blocked a drive by Bonzi Wells. Wade sank a jumper and Williams made two free throws before Mourning turned back another shot by Abdur-Rahim to seal the win.
"Zo at the rim, it's crazy," Van Gundy said. "You literally cannot score on him at the rim. Seven blocks, but how many other shots did he affect in that game? He's just playing the game at an extremely high level."
Mourning and Udonis Haslem scored 12 points each and Antoine Walker added 11 for the Heat. Williams, Walker and James Posey all made at least as many 3-pointers as the entire Kings team.
Brad Miller had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Kings, who shot just 3-of-15 from the arc. Wells and Bibby scored 16 points each.
Sacramento sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic made just 3-of-16 shots and is 7-of-34 in three games since returning from a bruised pinky.
"I'm struggling right now," Stojakovic said. "I just have to fight through this and continue being aggressive."