EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal returned from a
three-game absence and had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Dwyane
Wade led a third-quarter surge that sent the Miami Heat past the
New Jersey Nets 106-90 Thursday night.
Wade had 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Heat,
who thoroughly outclassed the Nets in the second half to end New
Jersey's three-game winning streak.
The final two quarters were so lopsided that Alonzo Mourning was
able to make his Heat debut during garbage time, playing the final
2:19 and grabbing two rebounds. The 11-year veteran, who left Miami
as a free agent two summers ago, re-signed with the Heat earlier
this week after being traded from New Jersey to Toronto and then
being waived by the Raptors.
Vince Carter scored 27 points to lead the Nets, but he shot just
1-for-11 in the second half and missed his final seven attempts.
The Nets shot only 37 percent overall and were outrebounded 47-31.
Miami also got 15 points from Eddie Jones and 13 from Udonis
Haslem to improve the Eastern Conference's best record to 43-16.
The Heat went 2-1 in their three games without O'Neal, who sprained
his left knee Feb. 22 against Chicago.
The Nets went ahead by 14 points during the first quarter as
Carter shot 5-for-6 and Wade was 1-for-6, but Miami worked its way
back during the second quarter and pulled to 48-44 by halftime.
A 3-pointer by Damon Jones tied it at 48-all early in the third
quarter, and Wade had 12 points and six assists over the remainder
of the period to help the Heat to a 76-65 lead entering the
The Nets briefly went to a Hack-A-Shaq strategy trailing by
15 with 4 minutes left, abandoning the intentional fouling approach
after O'Neal went 4-for-4 from the line. He finished 8-for-11. ...
Nets F Brian Scalabrine was activated from the injured list after
undergoing minor knee surgery and saw his first playing time since
Jan. 26. He had two points in six minutes. ... Carter reached 20
points for the 17th consecutive game. His personal record is 23 in
a row. Allen Iverson of Philadelphia has the league's longest
current streak of 20-point games with 34.
Orlando plays New York for conference matchup
Orlando Magic (0-2, ninth in the Eastern Conference) vs. New York Knicks (2-0, first in the Eastern Conference)
Thunder host the 76ers for out-of-conference matchup
Philadelphia 76ers (1-1, 10th in the Eastern Conference) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (0-2, eighth in the Western Conference)
Hornets set to do battle with Nets Sunday
Charlotte Hornets (2-0, fifth in the Eastern Conference) vs. Brooklyn Nets (1-1, eighth in the Eastern Conference)