FIRST ROUND (MIAMI HEAT , NEW JERSEY NETS )
Game 1 - Apr. 24 (Miami HEAT 116, New Jersey Nets 98): Dwyane Wade and Damon Jones had a career night, combining for 62 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists, on 22-of-30 shooting, as the HEAT defeated the New Jersey Nets, 116-98, to take an 1-0 series lead. The HEAT fell behind early in the game, 18-11, before Damon Jones got things going. Jones' 3-pointer at the 4:18 mark of the first quarter started an 11-1 run to end the quarter to give Miami a 22-19 lead. The HEAT never trailed again in the contest. Miami went up by as many as 20 points in the second half, shooting 67 percent from the field in the process. Wade finished the game with a postseason career-high 32 points, on 12-of-18 shooting, while dishing out eight assists. Jones also had a career postseason high with 30 points, including going 7-for-9 from behind the arc. Vince Carter and Jason Kidd scored 27 points and 18 points, respectively, but struggled from the field, shooting a combined 39 percent.
Game 2 - Apr. 26 (Miami HEAT 104, New Jersey Nets 87): Shaquille O'Neal scored just 14 points, but Alonzo Mourning came off the bench and recorded 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the HEAT defeat the Nets, 104-87, to take a 2-0 series lead. Miami held New Jersey to 36 percent from the field for the game and out-rebounded the Nets 47-38. The HEAT never trailed in the contest and took a 48-39 lead into halftime. After holding the Nets to 29 percent shooting in the third, the HEAT took its largest lead of the night, 22 points, after Keyon Dooling drained an 18-foot jumper at the 1:20 mark. New Jersey was able to cut its deficit to 11 with 2:47 left in the fourth, but Miami ended the game on a 9-2 run to cruise to the 17-point win. Dwyane Wade recorded 17 points and 10 assists for the HEAT. Nets rookie center Nenad Kristic led all scorers with 27 points.
Game 3 - Apr. 28 (Miami HEAT 108, New Jersey Nets 105): Jason Kidd recorded his eighth-career playoff triple-double but it wasn't enough, as the HEAT went on to defeat the Nets, 108-105, to take a 3-0 series lead. Shaquille O'Neal scored 25 points and Dwyane Wade added 22, 10 rebounds and eight assists for top-seeded Miami. Five straight points by O'Neal gave the HEAT a 99-97 lead late in the first overtime. Vince Carter then tied the game for the Nets when he hit a baseline jumper as time expired. In the second overtime, the Nets had a chance to tie the game, but Richard Jefferson's lay-up rimmed out. Alonzo Mourning and Udonis Haslem made two crucial hustle plays off of New Jersey's misses to help preserve the win. O'Neal finished with 25 points. Carter had 36 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Nets.
Game 4 - May. 1st (Miami HEAT 110, New Jersey Nets 97): The HEAT advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs by completing it first-ever four-game series sweep, with a 110-97 victory over the Nets in New Jersey. Dwyane Wade scored 34 points and dished out nine assists and Eddie Jones added 21 points and helped hold Vince Carter to 6-for-22 shooting. The Nets fell behind by 12 early in the first period, but they cut their deficit to one, 48-47, by halftime. After taking an eight-point lead into the fourth, Jason Kidd's 3-pointer pulled the Nets to within three, 84-81, at the 8:03 mark of the final frame. But Wade and Shaquille O'Neal would take charge. Wade scored seven of his nine fourth quarter points during the final eight minutes and O'Neal added five more points during that stretch to help Miami to the 13-point win. Kidd finished with a team-high 25 points and Carter added 23. Miami held New Jersey to 39.5 percent from the field while shooting 54.9 percent, going 9-for-18 from downtown. O'Neal scored all of his 17 points in the second half.
SEMIFINALS (MIAMI HEAT, WASHINGTON WIZARDS)
Game 1 - May 8 (Miami HEAT 105, Washington Wizards 86): Dwyane Wade scored 15 of his team-high 20 points in the second half as the HEAT defeated the Washington Wizards, 105-86, to take a 1-0 series lead. Miami held a 17-point advantage, 39-22, after Rasual Butler knocked down a 3-pointer at the 7:26 mark of the second period. Despite shooting 37 percent in the first half (22 percent in the first period), Antawn Jamison, Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas got the Wizards back into the game. The trio scored 23 points during Washington's 25-10 run over the next seven minutes to cut the HEAT's lead to two, 49-47, heading into halftime. But the Wizards could not overcome their poor-shooting performance, as the HEAT went up by as many as 21 points in the second half and cruised to victory and remained a perfect 5-0 in the postseason. Washington shot 37 percent from the field for the game while Miami hit on 52 percent of its shots. Gilbert Arenas led all scorers with 25 points but was only 8-for-21 from the field. Shaquille O'Neal scored 19 points in 26 minutes of action and fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
Game 2 - May 10 (Miami HEAT 108, Washington Wizards 102): Dwyane Wade scored 31 points and dished out a postseason career-high 15 assists to help lead the HEAT past the Washington Wizards, 108-102, to take a 2-0 series lead. Miami shot 75 percent from the field in the first quarter and took a 10-point lead after one. The HEAT stretched its lead to 13, 33-20, 20 seconds into the second after Rasual Butler knocked down his only 3-pointer of the night. But Washington answered with a 17-4 run to tie things up at 37 apiece at the midway point of the second, but still trailed 54-47 at halftime. Miami began to pull away in the third behind the hot shooting of Damon Jones. Jones scored 11 of his 14 points in the period, going 4-for-6 from the field, including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Miami jumped out to a 14-point lead in the final frame, but Washington attempted one more comeback. Gilbert Arenas drained a 3-pointer with 1:05 left to cut Miami's lead to five, 105-100, but Washington missed three of its last four shots and Miami drained three critical free throws down the stretch to secure the win. Antawn Jamison finished with a postseason careerhigh 32 points. Eddie Jones added 21 points for the HEAT.
Game 3 - May 12 (Miami HEAT 102, Washington Wizards 95): Alonzo Mourning stepped in for the injured Shaquille O'Neal, who missed his first-ever playoff game due to a bruised thigh, and recorded 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots, as the HEAT defeated the Wizards in Washington, 102-95, to take a 3-0 series lead. Both teams battled evenly in the first half, with neither team taking more than a five-point lead, but Washington held the slight halftime edge, 51-49. The Wizards pushed their lead to eight early in the third after Gilbert Arenas' layup capped a 9-3 run to start the period. But the HEAT would respond with a 13-0 run, while outscoring the Wizards 25-10 over the last nine and a half minutes to take a nine-point lead into the fourth period, 79-70. Miami stretched its lead to 11, but Washington cut the lead to three on two different occasions. The latest came when Arenas' hit a layup with 1:51 left in regulation to put the score to 98-95. Miami held Washington scoreless for the rest of the contest and scored the last two field goals to pull away for the win. Dwyane Wade finished with 31 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots. Antawn Jamison led Washington with 21 points on 9-of-22 shooting. The trio of Arenas, Jamison and Larry Hughes scored 60 points but shot just 40 percent (22-for-54) from the field. Udonis Haslem scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the HEAT.
Game 4 - May 14 (Miami HEAT 99, Washington Wizards 95): Eddie Jones 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds remaining held off Washington's fourth quarter rally, as the HEAT defeated the Wizards in Washington, 99-95, to complete the four-game sweep. The HEAT, playing without the injured Shaquille O'Neal for the second straight contest, fell behind early by eight, 16-8, but Dwyane Wade kept Miami close in the first half, as the Wizards took a 51-47 halftime lead. But the second half belonged to Wade. Wade scored 26 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the final two periods. His 22 points in the third quarter set a HEAT franchise high for points in a quarter, which helped Miami to a 40 point quarter, another franchise high. The HEAT held an 11-point edge, 94-83 at the halfway mark of the fourth period before the Wizards started to rally. Antawn Jamison's 3-pointer capped off a 12-0 run to give the Wizards a one-point lead, 95-94, with 1:15 remaining. Both teams remained scoreless until Jones' three gave Miami the lead for good. Washington had one last chance to tie the game, but Alonzo Mourning blocked Larry Hughes' potential game tying shot and Wade hit two free throws down the stretch to preserve the win. Wade finished the game with a postseason career-high 42 points.
FINALS (MIAMI HEAT, DETROIT PISTONS)
Game 1 - May 23 (Detroit Pistons 90, Miami HEAT 81): Shaquille O'Neal, playing in his first playoff game since Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, scored 20 points in 33 minutes, but Dwyane Wade was held to just 16 points on 28 percent shooting (7-for-25), as the Pistons defeated the HEAT, 90-81, in Miami. O'Neal and Eddie Jones kept the HEAT close in the first half, combining to score 27 points but the HEAT still trailed by one at halftime, 44-43. Rasheed Wallace got things going for the Pistons early in the third quarter. Wallace scored nine points during Detroit's 20-7 run to start the half to help give the Pistons their largest lead of the contest, 64-50, at the 5:22 mark. But Miami would rally. Down by nine with 9:11remaining in the fourth, Wade's layup pulled the HEAT to within seven, and then Damon Jones knocked down his first three to pull the HEAT to within four. Jones then found Udonis Haslem for a 17-footer to complete the 7-0 run and tie the game at 80 apiece with 5:11 left in the game. Detroit's defense kept Miami in check for the rest of the contest. Miami was held to just one point and no field goals during the last five minutes, as the Pistons outscored the HEAT by nine during that stretch to secure the win. Wallace led the way with 20 points for Detroit. Eddie Jones led all scorers with 22. The loss was the first for the HEAT during this postseason.
Game 2 - May 25 (Detroit Pistons 92, Miami HEAT 86): Dwyane Wade bounced back from a sub-par Game One and recorded 40 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a 92-86 win over the Detroit Pistons in Miami. The HEAT tied the Eastern Conference Finals, best-of-seven series, 1-1. After taking a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter, Miami defense clamped down. The HEAT held the Pistons to 13 points on 25 percent shooting through the second quarter, and Damon Jones scored 10 points in the period, as the HEAT took a 47-36 halftime lead. Miami stretched its lead to 13, 51-38, early in the second half, but the Pistons outscored the HEAT 27-15, while connecting on 5-of-8 from 3-point territory in the third, to retake a 63-62 lead heading into the final frame. But the fourth quarter belonged to Wade. Wade scored 20 points in the final period and Alonzo Mourning had two key blocks down the stretch to help lead the HEAT to the six-point win. Shaquille O'Neal recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds for the HEAT. Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 21 points on 8-for-23 shooting. The Pistons were held to 38.3 percent from the field in the contest.
Game 3 - May 29 (Miami HEAT 113, Detroit Pistons 104): Eddie Jones scored 11of his 19 points in the final period as the HEAT held off the Pistons' late-game rally to win 113-104 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal had their way in the first half. The All-Star duo combined to score 35 points (21 and 14 points, respectively) on 16-of-22 shooting (73 percent), but Miami only took a 53-51 lead into halftime. The HEAT took control early in the third. Udonis Haslem gave the HEAT a 10-point cushion, 73-63, at the 6:26 mark after O'Neal found him for the 16-foot jumper. But the Pistons held the HEAT to only one basket the rest of the period to pull within 79-75 entering the fourth quarter. Detroit reclaimed the lead after Chauncey Billups sank two free throws, and Tayshaun Prince put the Pistons up by five, 86-81, after sinking two more from the line with 7:57 left. However, Jones would help shoot Miami back into the contest. Jones scored nine points in the Miami's 19-5 run to give the HEAT a nine-point edge with 3:30 left, 100-91. Detroit pulled no closer than eight the rest of the way. Wade finished with 36 points, and O'Neal finished with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists. O'Neal was also 8-for-12 from the free-throw line. Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 33 points. Detroit allowed 100 points for just the second time this postseason.
Game 4 - May 31 (Detroit Pistons 106, Miami HEAT 96): Richard Hamilton had his best shooting performance of the series, scoring 28 points on 10-of-18 from the field, to help the Pistons defeat the HEAT, 106-96, in Detroit. Detroit evens the best-of-seven series, 2-2. Shaquille O'Neal got going early in the contest, connecting on both of his field goal attempts and scoring five points before foul trouble sent him to the bench. The score was tied 11-11 when O'Neal came out of the game in the first, and the Pistons took advantage of his absence. Detroit took a four-point lead into the second and stretched its advantage to 14-points, 60-46, by halftime. The HEAT started the third on a 17-8 run to cut its deficit to five, 68-63, at the 4:56 mark of the period. Despite Dwayne Wade scoring 18 of his team-high 28 points in the second half, Miami was unable to get any closer, as the Piston matched the HEAT shot for shot in the fourth. Detroit took it largest lead of the night, 17-points, at the midway point before rolling to the 10-point win. O'Neal finished with 12 points in only 25 minutes of action. Rasheed Wallace scored 20 points for the Pistons.
Game 5 - June 2nd (Miami HEAT 88, Detroit Pistons 76): Shaquille O'Neal scored 20 points to help pull the HEAT to an 88-76 victory over the Detroit Pistons. After a tightly contested opening quarter, which the HEAT finished leading by only two points, 28-26, Miami took charge in the second. Detroit was held to just 30 percent from the field, and Miami finished the half on an 11-0 run to take a 53-39 halftime lead. The HEAT continued its run to start the third, stretching the lead to 20, 67-47, at the halfway mark of the period. After Dwyane Wade went down with a rib injury with 5:08 remaining in the third period, Rasual Butler stepped up. Butler scored seven of his postseason career-high 12 points, and added one block, after Wade left the game. Butler hit several critical baskets in the final frame to help preserve Miami's double-digit lead. Mourning and Udonis Haslem combined to record four blocks in the final 3:15. Wade finished with 15 points, four assists and five steals in only 27 minutes of action. Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups scored 21 points and 19 points, respectively. Miami shot 52 percent from the field while holding Detroit to 39 percent shooting.
Game 6 - June 4th (Detroit Pistons 91, Miami HEAT 66): Shaquille O'Neal scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots, but it wasn't enough as the Pistons rolled to 91-66 victory to force a decisive Game Seven in Miami. With the series leading scorer, Dwyane Wade, out with rib injury, the HEAT kept the score close in the first period. O'Neal scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and the other four starters got balanced scoring, recording two points apiece, but Miami still trailed, 17-16, after one. However, the Pistons broke out in the second period. Rasual Butler's, who made his first career playoff start, jumper at the 9:54 mark of the period reclaimed a 20-19 lead for Miami. But Richard Hamilton's driving layup sparked a 13-0 run to give the Pistons a 12-point edge. The HEAT did get within two, 34-32, with 1:55 remaining in the half, but the Pistons jumped out to another 12-point lead, ending the period on a 10-0 run to take a 44-32 lead at halftime. Detroit continued to control the game in the second half, holding Miami to 28 percent shooting from the field in the third period and taking their largest lead of the night, 28 points, 77-49, with 8:30 left in the game. The 66 points marked the lowest playoff total in HEAT franchise history. Hamilton finished with 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting. Keyon Dooling came of the bench and scored 10 points for the HEAT.
Game 7 - June 6th (Detroit Pistons 88, Miami HEAT 82): The HEAT's run for its first NBA championship came to an end at the hands of the defending world champions, in an 88-82 defeat in Miami. Rasheed Wallace scored 20 points and made several key baskets down the stretch to help lead Detroit to its second straight NBA Finals appearance. The Pistons controlled most of the first half, going up by as many as 10 points at the 3:22 mark of the second quarter, but an Eddie Jones steal and buzzer-beating shot to close the half pulled the HEAT to within five, 45-40. Dwayne Wade took over in the third quarter. Wade, who was hampered by a rib injury, scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, and Miami took a 66-64 lead heading into the final quarter. Both teams battled evenly until the two-minute mark. After O'Neal knocked down one of his two free throws to give the HEAT a one-point, 79-78, edge, Wallace reclaimed the lead for the Pistons on their next possession. Wallace then put Detroit up by three with 55 seconds remaining with a put back dunk. With 17 seconds left Damon Jones had a chance cut the Pistons lead to one, but he only hit on one of two free throws and Detroit went 6-for-6 down the stretch for the win. Richard Hamilton lead the Pistons with 22 points. Wade finished the game with 20 points on 7-of-20.