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Jamal Mashes Heat
MIAMI, April 23 (AP) -- By the third quarter, frustrated fans were booing the home team. Early in the fourth quarter, they were streaming for the exits. And as the game ended, the Charlotte Hornets celebrated.

It was all an improbable repeat of Game 1 Monday night as Charlotte earned another 26-point victory over the hapless Miami Heat, winning 102-76 for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Baron Davis
Baron Davis elevates over Tim Hardaway Monday.
Gary Bassing/NBAE Photos TV highlights: 28.8+ | ISDN+

Jamal Mashburn again tormented his former team and fans, trading barbs with Tim Hardaway and Dan Majerle, sticking out his tongue at hecklers in the crowd and scoring 22 points. David Wesley added 18 and Baron Davis 17.

"Everybody else has been a little surprised; we haven't," Mashburn said. "We're a loose bunch and a close-knit group. That comes alive in the playoffs."

Charlotte broke open Saturday's 106-80 victory with a 20-2 run to start the second half. This time it was a 24-5 run after halftime to make the score 78-57.

Charlotte held Miami to seven points in the third quarter -- a franchise playoff record for both teams.

In successive games, the Heat have endured their two most lopsided losses of the season and their two most lopsided home playoff defeats.

"Are we really playing that bad, or are they playing that good?" Miami forward Anthony Mason said. "I don't know."

The Hornets need one more victory to reach the second round of the playoffs for only the third time since the franchise was founded in 1988. Game 3 is Friday at Charlotte, where Miami is 0-2 this season.

"We have to gather ourselves," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Thank God we have four days. Even though it's a daunting task in front of us, it's been done before."

Five teams have rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-five series, most recently Denver against Seattle in 1994.

"Anybody who knows Pat Riley knows it's not over," Mashburn said.

"We have to be desperate," Hardaway said. "We're still a better team."

Hardaway again started despite a bruised left foot and again failed to keep up with the Hornets' quicker guards. He scored two points in 19 minutes, and by the third period fans were chanting for rookie point guard Eddie House to replace him.

Adding injury to injury, Alonzo Mourning played with back spasms that had him wincing and stretching on the floor when he was out of the game. He had nine points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.

It was Mourning's 15th game in a comeback from kidney disease, and the storybook ending he had hoped for looks increasingly unlikely.

"We haven't gotten it done," Mourning said. "We have to find a way to win three games. It's not impossible."

The crowd showed no sympathy toward the Heat. Boos were even louder than Saturday, including a chorus of jeers from the few spectators left when the game ended.

Jamal Mashburn
Jamal Mashburn hits the tough fadeaway jumper:
871k avi | QuickTime
Mashburn, relishing the chance to show up the team that traded him last August, enjoyed the final five minutes from the bench. He got the Hornets off to a good start with 12 points in the opening period.

"We have no problem scoring, getting easy baskets and getting the ball inside," Mashburn said.

The Hornets led only 54-52 at halftime before Mashburn scored four baskets to spark their run at the start of the second half. The Heat committed five turnovers and missed 11 of 13 shots to begin the half.

"They looked like a team that was out of sync and didn't have any answers," Davis said.

Riley said the biggest difference in the two teams has been shooting -- Charlotte is hot, Miami is not. The Heat relied largely on perimeter attempts and went 6-for-22 on 3-point tries. The Hornets, repeatedly slashing to the basket, shot 45 percent and outscored Miami 30-8 at the free-throw line.

Said Riley: "Their accuracy, our inaccuracy and their play have taken our heart right now."

Notes: The Heat allowed 100 points in only eight regular-season games, but Charlotte has reached that milestone twice. ... VIPs in the crowd included actor Cuba Gooding Jr., Hall of Fame coach Don Shula and Minnesota Vikings receiver Chris Carter. ... Miami's A.C. Green, who has played in an NBA record 1,192 consecutive games, entered the game with 7:18 left. The streak is unaffected by the playoffs. ... Charlotte has scored at least 23 points in every quarter.

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