Abdur-Rahim backs up his All-Star status

MIAMI (AP) -- Shareef Abdur-Rahim is ready for All-Star weekend.

Abdur-Rahim had 34 points and 11 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks
held on to beat the Miami Heat 76-73 Tuesday night.

"You have to play like an All-Star every night," Abdur-Rahim
said. "There is a certain level you have to play at every night,
and that's a challenge."

A reserve forward on the Eastern Conference team, Abdur-Rahim
had his second-highest point total of the season. He scored 50
points against Detroit in November.

Jason Terry added 16 points to help the Hawks to their second
straight victory following a six-game losing streak.

The Heat had their three-game winning streak snapped and lost
for only the third time in their last 13 games.

Rod Strickland and Eddie Jones each scored 16 points for the
Heat, and Alonzo Mourning and Brian Grant each added 10.

The Hawks matched their second lowest point total of the season.
They also scored 76 in a loss to Washington on Dec. 19. They had
was 71 against Detroit on Jan. 30.

On this night, though, the Hawks had Abdur-Rahim, and he had
plenty of game to carry his team.

"Being an All-Star puts a target on you," he said. "I know
that in the years I didn't make the All-Star team, whenever I did
play against somebody who did my mindset was to go after him."

The Hawks were happy to give the ball to Abdur-Rahim, who
converted 12 of 24 shots and made 10 of 11 free throws.

"He established himself early," Atlanta coach Lon Kruger said.
"He was consistent and had good looks. He was putting himself in
position to score and make strong plays."

The Heat, who started the season 5-23, were hoping to go into
the All-Star break with momentum after winning 13 of their previous
18. Instead, they lost for the third straight time this season to
the Hawks and will have plenty of time to ponder their latest

"Every game we lose sets us back about three games it seems,"
Grant said. "I know we can't win them all, but our mindset has to
be that way when we lost a game like we did tonight."

After Strickland made two baskets to pull the Heat within a
point at 72-71, Terry made two free throws to make it 74-71 with 13
seconds left. Miami cut it to one on Jim Jackson's rebound basket
with 4 seconds left, but Atlanta's Hanno Mottola hit a pair of free
throws with 1.1 seconds remaining, and Miami's LaPhonso Ellis came
up short with a 3-pointer as time expired.

"It was a good win," Kruger said. "We battled and fought as
well as we have all year. We played each possession as a
significant possession. The job Shareef did in establishing the
tone was phenomenal."

Abdur-Rahim carried Atlanta to a 47-40 lead in the third
quarter, but picked up his third and fourth fouls in a 13-second
span and spent the final 7:55 of the period on the bench. With
Abdur-Rahim out of the game, the Heat chopped the deficit to one at
53-52 at the end of the quarter. The Hawks used a 9-2 run to open
the fourth quarter, and Jacque Vaughn's 3-pointer gave them their
biggest lead of the game at 62-54 with 8:55 left.

"It was one of those hard-fought games," Miami coach Pat Riley
said. "It was a grinder. We never could get a foothold on the game,
but they never let us. They played hard defensively, but I thought
we were as bad on offense as we have been in a while, and down the
stretch we couldn't make plays."

Game notes
The Hawks have been held under 100 points in eight of their
last nine games. ... Abdur-Rahim scored 11 of Atlanta's 18 points
in the first quarter and 22 of the team's 39 first-half points. ...
Miami expects to activate guard Anthony Carter, out since Dec. 21
with a hernia, after the All-Star break. ... Miami's Eddie Jones
extended his streak of hitting at least one-3-pointer to 18 games.
... Riley picked up his eighth technical of the season in the first
quarter arguing a call with referee James Capers.

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