Van Gundys split season series


MIAMI (AP) -- Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy enjoys savoring
victories in phone conversations with his brother. He couldn't do
that Monday night because his brother was the losing coach.

Thanks to a performance he ranked as Miami's best this season,
Van Gundy pulled even in the first-year coaching rivalry with
younger brother Jeff. Eddie Jones scored 27 points and Miami shot
51 percent to beat the Houston Rockets 95-81.

The coaches will meet again this season only if both teams reach
the NBA Finals.

"I'm glad it's over for the year," Stan Van Gundy said. "You
know the other guy is down and upset."

Jeff won the only other showdown between the siblings when
Houston beat the Heat on Nov. 11.

The Heat rank last in the NBA in shooting, but they hit from
inside and out against the league's top-ranked scoring defense.

"It's our strength," Jeff Van Gundy said. "But they shredded

Miami turned cold only after building a 90-72 lead, failing to
score for nearly five minutes before Jones made two free throws
with 52 seconds to go.

The Heat went 11-for-23 from 3-point range, and that didn't
include a shot Caron Butler swished from 78 feet at the end of the
third quarter. Officials ruled the ball was released after the
buzzer, and a replay confirmed the call.

"We play a lot like that hanging around in the gym," Butler
said. "I usually only come close, but I never made it. That was a
nice shot. I followed through."

Lamar Odom scored 20 points, Rafer Alston 15 and Butler 14 for

"That's the best we've played all year," Stan Van Gundy said.
"Everything went right for us, and that's what has to happen when
you play a real good team."

Miami's defense was superb, too. Houston's Yao Ming, who scored
a career-high 37 points Sunday against Orlando, was held to 12 by
Brian Grant. Alston limited Steve Francis to 2-for-9 shooting and
nine points.

"That was one of our better offensive games," Jones said.
"But defense finished the game off for us."

Miami won its third game in a row and snapped Houston's
three-game winning streak.

The crowd of 14,523 included the Van Gundys' parents, Bill and
Cindy, who live in South Florida, but the game lacked the hype
surrounding the first meeting between the brothers. Stan lost that
one in Houston less than three weeks after he was promoted from
assistant coach to succeed Pat Riley.

"It's still not normal playing against him," Jeff said before
the game. "But it's more normal."

The brothers got together at Jeff's house for dinner the night
before their earlier showdown. Stan was unable to return the favor
this time because the Rockets arrived in Miami late Sunday after a
win in Orlando.

The only other siblings to coach against each other in the NBA
were Herb and Larry Brown.

Miami sank eight of its first 11 shots, then went 11-for-19 in
the third quarter. Jones' 3-pointer pushed their lead into double
digits for the first time at 74-63.

A 3-pointer by Alston made Miami's margin 79-63. Jones sank a
3-pointer and Odom scored for a 90-72 lead.

For the Heat coach, the laugher was nothing to joke about -- at
least not with his brother.

"We will not kid each other," Stan Van Gundy said. "It's too
painful. It's a job you put a lot into. You want to win. It's not

Game notes
Heat rookie guard Dwyane Wade, sidelined since Jan. 2 by a
bruised wrist, is expected to return Wednesday at Cleveland or
Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers. ... The Rockets fell to
10-3 on the road against Eastern Conference teams.