Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 11/3

Game 1: Wednesday, November 3rd
Game 2: Thursday, March 3rd
Game 3: Saturday, March 12th

Heat 100

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Nets 77

(0-1, 0-1 home)

8:00 PM ET, November 3, 2004

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
MIA 29 17 28 26100
NJ 15 26 15 2177

Top Performers

Mia: D. Wade 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

NJ: R. Jefferson 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

Shaq scores 16 in 21 minutes

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal caught the ball deep in the low post, used his oversized posterior to bump Alonzo Mourning out of the way, then dropped in a layup with no one else around.

Miami's new center had his way against a familiar face from the Heat's recent past, shooting 7-for-9 from the field and scoring 16 points in just 21 minutes of a 100-77 victory Wednesday night over the New Jersey Nets.

It was anything but a dominant debut in black for O'Neal, who was acquired over the summer from the Los Angeles Lakers for three starters and a first-round draft pick.

But he certainly had his moments despite playing on a sore left hamstring, the best of them coming in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter against the player drafted one spot behind him in 1992.

"I was ordered to be 100 percent when I came back, but I haven't been 100 percent in about 10 years," O'Neal said.

On his next trip downcourt after shaking Mourning with his butt bump, O'Neal freed himself with a shove to the back that the referees didn't see before knocking down a short jump hook.

Moments later, O'Neal got the ball in the low left block and hit a 10-foot baseline turnaround over Mourning for an 83-60 lead.

"It was one-on-one coverage, and I don't know anybody in this league that can guard him one-on-one," Mourning said. "I don't care if he has a pulled hamstring or he is slow -- the man is big. He is a massive individual. If you don't have the same weight and size to match that and you're playing him one-on-one and get behind him, he is going to back you down, drop step and there's not too much you can do about it."

Both players left for good moments later, O'Neal's night a success because of the victory; Mourning's an accomplishment simply because the former Miami center was able to play less than a year after undergoing a kidney transplant.

Mourning finished with seven points, five rebounds and four fouls in 14 minutes for a gutted Nets team that's a shadow of the squad that reached the NBA Finals two of the past three years.

Former starters Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles were traded for draft picks over the summer, and Jason Kidd is beginning the season on the injured list after undergoing knee surgery.

Richard Jefferson had 19 points to lead New Jersey, but he was the Nets' only starter to reach double figures.

"If we lose, it's because of the players out there," Jefferson said, "not because of ghosts of Christmas past."

Miami, which also changed a majority of its starting lineup, had six players in double figures.

Dwyane Wade scored 21 with six assists and five rebounds, Udonis Haslem had 18, Rasual Butler 16, Damon Jones 15 and Eddie Jones 10. Miami went 8-for-16 from 3-point range, with Butler and Damon Jones making three apiece.

"I haven't had that many open shots since I played Pee-Wee ball with my brother when I was 5," Damon Jones said.

O'Neal only touched the ball once on Miami's first three possessions, all of which ended with scores for a 7-0 lead. The Heat got their edge up to 16 early in the second quarter before New Jersey -- forcing O'Neal as far from the basket as possible on defense and shooting 12-for-19 on offense -- pulled to 46-41 at halftime.

O'Neal had only six points and three rebounds in the first half, missing his first shot, making his next three and missing his last.

In the third quarter, O'Neal beat Mourning downcourt after winning a jump ball against him and scored easily over Eric Williams for a 50-43 lead before picking up his fourth foul seconds later. Miami didn't miss him, going on a 24-13 run over the remainder of the quarter for a 74-56 lead entering the fourth period.

"It went better than I thought it would go," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said, "but I'm not going to go crazy on the superlatives after one game."

Game notes

The game drew a crowd of 17,260, about 3,500 short of capacity. ... O'Neal missed three free throws in a single trip to the line during the first half, getting an extra attempt because of a lane violation. He finished 2-for-7 at the line. ... Among the new starters for the Nets are Jacque Vaughn, who had four points and three assists in 22 minutes, and Eric Williams, who missed all six of his shot attempts and was scoreless with four fouls in 25 minutes. ... New Jersey suffered its most lopsided opening night home loss since joining the NBA. ... NBA commissioner David Stern and Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong gave videotaped messages of encouragement to Mourning for his comeback from a kidney transplant. He is the second NBA player to play with a transplanted kidney, joining former San Antonio Spurs forward Sean Elliott.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 100 77
FGM-FGA 37-73 (.507) 28-74 (.378)
3PM-3PA 8-16 (.500) 2-8 (.250)
FTM-FTA 18-27 (.667) 19-27 (.704)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-42 8-36
Assists 24 19
Turnovers 11 15
Steals 5 5
Blocks 6 3
Fast Break Points 4 1
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/0) 29 (0/0)

Top Performers

New Jersey
Dwyane Wade Wade
Points: 21
Reb: 5
Ast: 6
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Richard Jefferson Jefferson
Points: 19
Reb: 4
Ast: 5
Stl: 0
Blk: 1