Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/29

Game 1: Tuesday, January 29th
Game 2: Saturday, March 16th

Nuggets 76


Heat 101

(30-34, 14-16 home)

    Coverage: FSRM

    7:30 PM ET, March 16, 2002

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 16 18 22 2076
    MIA 24 31 21 25101

    Top Performers

    Denver: C. Cheaney 20 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

    Miami: A. Mourning 24 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Blk

    Mourning scores 24 as Heat stay alive in East

    MIAMI (AP) -- Given a reprieve, Alonzo Mourning didn't disappoint.

    Alonzo Mourning

    Spared a league suspension for his actions the previous night, Mourning scored 24 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 101-76 rout of the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

    The Heat, who lost to the division-leading New Jersey Nets 97-78 Friday night in a game that featured Mourning's ejection, won for the seventh time in nine games and remained 1 games behind Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    The Nuggets lost their fourth straight game and have dropped eight straight on the road. Miami defeated Denver for the 13th straight time and hasn't lost in the series since Dec. 15, 1995.

    Mourning was in danger of missing the game for his antics during the Heat's loss against New Jersey. Near the end of that game, Mourning raised his fist at Nets center Aaron Williams and pointed a finger at forward Kenyon Martin. Mourning was assessed two technical fouls and ejected.

    "I didn't do anything to get suspended," Mourning said. "I was upset with the way I handled the situation. It was definitely out of character for me. I apologize for everything."

    Mourning went to work quickly against the Nuggets, scoring 20 points in the first half. He did much of the damage at the line, making 10 of 12 free throws. Mourning wound up playing just 23 minutes, only six in the second half.

    Miami never trailed, opening a 55-34 halftime lead, its largest of the season.

    Clearly, the Heat were determined to get back on the winning track after Friday's 19-point defeat. Their 25-point victory was their largest margin of the season.

    "Obviously, this was a good bounce-back game for us," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "We needed it. It was the opposite end of the spectrum from what it was (Friday) night from an effort standpoint. I don't care whose name was on the front of the other jersey tonight. (Friday) night we didn't play very hard and tonight we did from the beginning."

    Eddie Jones added 14 and Rod Strickland 13 for Miami, which shot 52 percent from the floor.

    Calbert Cheaney led the Nuggets with 20 points and Juwan Howard added 17.

    The Nuggets were aware of the Heat's blowout loss the night before and figured they would get Miami's best effort.

    "I know Pat Riley, and he's not going to let them play like that two nights in a row," said Denver guard Voshon Lenard, a former Heat player. "They're a good team now. They have the right rotation. They didn't care about us being shorthanded. It was obvious that they were determined to come in here and get a win."

    The Nuggets dressed only nine players because of injuries to Antonio McDyess and Donnell Harvey, and Tim Hardaway's suspension, and wound up shooting 35 percent.

    "They're a playoff team that got their tails kicked the night before," Nuggets coach Mike Evans said. "They were determined to come back home and take care of business. They saw an opportunity to get back on the winning track. It was that plain and simple."

    The Nuggets were no match for the Heat's intensity early on, falling behind 31-18 at the end of the first period and going down by 21 at halftime.

    "We came with the right energy tonight as opposed to (Friday) night," Mourning said. "The bottom line is that we rebounded from that game and were able to get ourselves back on track."

    Game notes

    The anticipated return of Tim Hardaway to south Florida fizzled before it ever had a chance. Hardaway, who spent five seasons with the Heat, missed the game while serving a suspension. Hardaway was suspended for two games without pay and fined $10,000 for verbal abuse of the officials, failure to leave the court in a timely manner and throwing a television monitor on the court during Denver's loss at Orlando Friday night. ... Denver's road record dropped to 5-25, second-worst in the league. ... The Heat extended their winning streak on the second night of back-to-backs to 10 games. ... Miami topped the 100-point mark for only the eighth time in 64 games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 101
    FGM-FGA 26-74 (.351) 39-75 (.520)
    3PM-3PA 0-7 (.000) 5-12 (.417)
    FTM-FTA 24-39 (.615) 18-23 (.783)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-39 7-40
    Assists 9 23
    Turnovers 13 14
    Steals 8 5
    Blocks 2 8
    Fast Break Points 2 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (2/0) 27 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Calbert Cheaney Cheaney
    Points: 20
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Alonzo Mourning Mourning
    Points: 24
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3