1998-99: Mourning Glorious, But End is Bitter
Alonzo Mourning was already a star, but the Miami HEAT center got even better.
Mourning finished second in MVP balloting as he led the HEAT to a 33-17 record, best in the Eastern Conference. The lockout-shortened season ended in disappointment, however, when Miami lost to New York in the first round of the playoffs.
Miami was less than a second away from eliminating the eighth-seeded Knicks. Allan Houston proved to be the hero of the deciding game, as he hit a running one-hander with 0.8 seconds to play to give New York a 78-77 victory.
Mourning, who averaged 20.1 points and a career-best 11.0 rebounds for the season, earned All-NBA First Team honors for the first time in his seven-year career. Utah's Karl Malone was the only player who fared better in MVP balloting.
Mourning led the league with 3.91 blocks per game and was named Defensive Player of the Year after receiving 89 of 118 possible votes. It was the most lopsided result in the 17-year history of the award.
Point guard Tim Hardaway averaged 17.4 points and 7.3 assists and secured a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. Forward P.J. Brown was named to the All-Defensive Second Team.
Two Miami starters missed more than half the season. Guard Voshon Lenard was on the sideline for 35 games with a stress fracture in his left leg, and forward Jamal Mashburn was out for 26 games because of a thigh injury.
The HEAT wrapped up their last full season in Miami Arena. The team was scheduled to move into AmericanAirlines Arena early in the 1999-2000 season.