Jones scored a career-high 37 points, including a crucial
three-point play in overtime, as the Miami Heat beat the Nuggets
100-94 in overtime Tuesday night.
Jones dunked the ball and made the free throw after drawing a
foul to put the Heat up 94-92 at 2:03 in overtime. He also made a
layup to tie it 89-89 at the end of regulation, facing little
resistance from Nuggets defenders.
"He's strong and he is getting by people," Heat coach Pat
Riley said. "I was surprised tonight that they let him go. I think
Eddie, once he is alone, can get there."
Denver and Miami were scoreless in the first 2:40 of overtime
until LaPhonso Ellis had a running hook. Raef LaFrentz responded
with a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 92-91 lead.
"This was a lack of execution," Nuggets coach Mike Evans said.
"We are just not making shots when we need them. That was the
Heat center Alonzo Mourning, selected as a reserve for the
Eastern Conference All-Star team, missed his second straight game
with flulike symptoms.
Jones had 24 of his points in the first half, leading Miami on a
16-5 run to end the half with a 50-39 lead. He also had 13 of
Miami's first 15 to start the game.
But the Nuggets came back in the third, holding Jones scoreless.
They went on a 18-4 run including 12 straight to make it 65-61 at
1:30 in the third.
"The guys did a good job of shutting him down in the third
quarter and we thought he was done," Nuggets guard Nick Van Exel
said. "A couple of open shots in the fourth quarter got him going
again back into his rhythm."
Raef LaFrentz led the Nuggets with 30 points, including six
3-pointers to tie a career record.
Neither team pulled away in the fourth, trading the lead 10
The Heat regained the lead 71-70 at 10:17 but Denver again
pulled ahead after Avery Johnson hit two foul shots, and Voshon
Lenard made a 3 to go up 75-71 with 9:17 left.
Van Exel, who had 15 points, made a 3-pointer over Grant with 19
seconds left to put the Nuggets up 89-87. After Jones tied it, Van
Exel missed a jumper in the final seconds in regulation.
Jones found his shot after struggling in a 101-89 loss to Utah
on Monday night, when he scored 12 points on 3 for 16 shooting and
had four fouls.
"I was just trying to get it done," Jones said. "I was upset
with myself from last night for getting myself in foul trouble and
pretty much taking our team out of it."
When it wasn't Jones, the Nuggets were undone by their
free-throw shooting. Miami was 17-of-17 from the free-throw line,
while Denver went 14-for-23.
"We didn't shoot well from the free-throw line, and we did not
make the shots that we should have," Evans said. "You have to
make those clutch free throws down the stretch."
It was Miami's 12th straight win over Denver.
Game notes The Nuggets' losing streak to Miami dates to a Denver win
on March 3, 1995. It is Miami's longest current winning streak
against any other team. ... Denver G Tariq Abdul-Wahad sat out the
game. He is still recovering from surgery on his left knee. ...
Denver is 0-of-10 when it had two or more days off between games.
The Nuggets last played Thursday. ... Miami was 5-23 on Dec. 30. It
has since won 11 of 16 since. ... Abdul-Wahad's alma mater, San
Jose State, will retire his No. 3 jersey Saturday.