Heat Come Back From Down 17 Against Hawks
Miami 95, Atlanta 93
MIAMI, March 4 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade's injured wrist appeared to cripple the entire Miami Heat until it mattered most.
Shaquille O'Neal scored 21 points and Alonzo Mourning converted the go-ahead dunk with 1.8 seconds remaining as the Heat extended their winning streak to seven games by rallying for a 95-93 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Without Wade, the Heat got off to a slow start and trailed by double digits after first quarter and 48-33 at the half. Miami shot just 31 percent (10-of-32) in the opening half.
"I think probably a month ago or two months ago we wouldn't even come close to winning a game like this," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We were very frustrated in the beginning with some very good defensive tactics on their part. They were just committed to fouling Shaquille (O'Neal) every single time."
However, the Heat finally found their game and used a 7-0 run, capped by Derek Anderson's 3-pointer to pull within 86-84 with 4:28 remaining. A little more than two minutes later, Udonis Haslem threw down a dunk to knot the contest at 89-89.
The Hawks took a 93-91 lead on two free throws by Al Harrington with 48 seconds left before Anderson hit a fallaway jumper to tie it.
Rookie Salim Stoudamire missed a jumper with 19 ticks left for the Hawks, giving the Heat a chance to take the lead. Haslem missed a jumper but Anderson grabbed the rebound and fed Mourning for the go-ahead basket.
"Derek (Anderson) made some big plays coming down the stretch and then we got the miracle," Riley said. "I don't know how the ball ended up in Alonzo's hands, but it ended up in his hands and he dunked it."
"I knew it was the end of the game and that's what you have to do to win," said Anderson, who was acquired from Houston at last month's trade deadline. "You don't stop playing until there are zeros on the clock. It was an effort play and I know that's a big thing around here."
Anderson also drew praise from Wade.
"He did great," said Wade, who is day-to-day. "He came in and missed the first couple of shots, but he kept being aggressive. He won us the game today."
Stoudamire had his potential game-tying jumper blocked by Jason Williams, giving Miami its ninth straight home win over Atlanta.
"It's not a lack of effort, these guys are competing that's all I can say," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "A bad bounce tonight, I thought, cost us (the game). Udonis Haslem shoots a near airball and Stoudamire doesn't block out and (Derek Anderson) gets a hand on it and flips it to Mourning."
Before fouling out, O'Neal made 11-of-20 foul shots and grabbed eight rebounds.
Haslem added 15 points and Anderson and Williams each contributed 14 apiece for the Heat.
Joe Johnson scored 28 points and Josh Smith had 21 for the Hawks.
"We pretty much handled them for three and a half quarters," Johnson said. "They had guys like Derek Anderson who made the difference."