Shaquille O'Neal scored 27 points and Miami overcame a rare
ragged performance by Wade to win 105-96 on Monday night.
Wade failed to score in the first 18 minutes. He missed several
layups and one dunk, committed eight turnovers, drew a technical
foul, shot 5-for-18 and finished with 18 points, 5.6 below his
"I just had a bad game," he said. "It happens. It's going to
happen again. But we got the win. That's all that matters."
Wade and his teammates struggled from the start against the
woeful Warriors and still took an 81-72 lead into the fourth
quarter. Miami then missed 10 of its first 12 shots in the quarter,
allowing Golden State to cut the margin to one at 86-85.
In the next 3 minutes O'Neal had three baskets, two rebounds and
a block, helping Miami surge ahead 96-88.
Two free throws by Wade gave the Heat their biggest lead,
101-90. He added two more for a 103-96 cushion with 32 seconds to
"That was a monumental struggle," coach Stan Van Gundy said.
"I'm sure it was a struggle to watch, too. Our mental focus was
ridiculous. But I'll give our guys credit -- they hung in there."
Van Gundy graded Wade's performance his poorest this season.
"Unfortunately the greatest of players will have the worst of
nights," Van Gundy said.
"I could tell early he wasn't his normal self in terms of his
energy," Fisher said. "It's like that at times in this league.
It's just tough to get yourself going a hundred times a year."
Still, the Heat won for the sixth time in seven games. They
improved to 14-2 at home since Nov. 30.
But it was never easy against the Warriors, who lost for the
17th time in their past 19 games.
"They came out with a little bit more energy than we did,"
O'Neal said. "But we picked it up somewhat, a little bit. ...
"It's always hard to play the lesser teams like that. They get
more pumped up for us than we do for them."
O'Neal went only 1-for-7 at the free-throw line but had six
assists and 14 rebounds. The Heat shot 51 percent and had a 53-33
edge on the boards, but they committed 17 turnovers to seven for
Against a team that has now lost 10 in a row on the road, the
Heat trailed for much of the first half. They led only 51-50 at
halftime despite shooting 55 percent.
After the Warriors took their final lead at 59-58, Miami scored
on five consecutive possessions. O'Neal sank back-to-back baskets,
and Wade scored five points in a row to put the Heat ahead 69-61.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win," Warriors coach Mike
Montgomery said. "That's what we were looking to do."
The Heat's Damon Jones said he should have been chosen for
the 3-point competition at the All-Star game, and O'Neal agreed.
"It makes you wonder who's upstairs doing their job," O'Neal
said. Jones began the week with 123 3-pointers, third in the
league, while shooting 38.6 percent. ... The Heat, who have the
best record in the Eastern Conference, improved to 11-10 against
teams from the West. ... The Warriors fell to 0-12 on the road when
trailing after one quarter.