Mourning ejected as team go at it shove-for-shove


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- If the Miami Heat find a way to
make the playoffs and draw the New Jersey Nets as a first-round
opponent, look out, it's going to be a testy one.

The Nets' 97-78 victory over the Heat on Friday night set the stage
for more fireworks.

Keith Van Horn scored 28 points, Jason Kidd had his seventh
triple-double and the Nets matched Miami shove for shove in a
physical game that featured another flagrant foul against New
Jersey's Kenyon Martin and the late ejection of Miami's Alonzo

"We knew they were going to try to bully us," said Kidd, who
had 11 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds.

"That might be the word around the league, to be physical with
us and try to take the Nets out of their offense," Kidd added.
"You could see right off the bat, we weren't going to back down."

While Martin's second-quarter flagrant was questionable at best,
his run-in with Mourning with 2:15 to play typified the Nets'

The incident started with some shoving between Mourning and Nets
center Aaron Williams. It ended with Martin and Mourning involved.

Martin smiled and stuck out his tongue during the run-in,
prompting Mourning to wave his arms and nearly poke Martin in the

After being restrained, Mourning walked off the court waving to
the crowd as the fans booed.

"That's uncalled for," Mourning said of Martin's actions.
"I've been part of some of the most intense games played in the
NBA. He was playing hard, but he went overboard. He started to taunt
me and make gestures. He was throwing elbows at heads. It's one
thing to beat a team but you don't have to rub it in that way."

Martin said Mourning grabbed at him and directed a profanity at

"It was a heat of the moment argument," Williams said.

Mourning was more annoyed with Martin's lack of respect.

"This guy hasn't even played a whole season in this league,"
Mourning said. "I've been in this league 10 years and you're going
to come over and taunt me. After a while, there is a line to be

Martin's flagrant foul for shoving Jim Jackson in the second
quarter could be costly if the call by referee Dan Crawford is
upheld. Martin already has been suspended for four games because of
his rough play, and faces a one-game suspension for each subsequent
flagrant foul.

Martin said he did nothing to deserve a flagrant.

"He elbowed me in the face," Martin said of Jackson.

On a night when the Heat shot only 34.6 percent, Jackson came
off the bench to lead them with 17 points. Mourning had 14 points
and Eddie Jones, who was in early foul trouble, had three points on
1-for-13 shooting.

The defeat ended a two-game winning streak for the red-hot Miami,
which has a 23-11 record since Jan. 1. The 19-point margin was its
worst defeat since a 34-point setback against Phoenix on Jan. 12.

Miami is now 1 games behind Charlotte in the race for the
eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

New Jersey, which has lost its last five road games, never
trailed after running off a 15-2 spurt in the opening minutes.

The Nets led by double digits most of the game, but Miami closed to 69-63 on a dunk by Vladimir Stepania with 10:21 to play.

Backup center Jason Collins drove the lane for a layup and hit
two free throws to spark a 15-6 run that put the game away.

Game notes
The 28-point performance was Van Horn's second highest of
the year and only his second 20-point effort in 16 games. ... The
Nets shot 50 percent from the field. They outscored Miami 42-20 in
the paint and 21-4 on the fastbreak. ... The Heat starters shot
15-for-51 from the field. ... Kidd has 45 career triple-doubles. New
Jersey won the season series with Miami, 3-1.