MIAMI (AP) -- Ordinarily, Shaquille O'Neal would be around the
basket and helping Miami guard precarious leads in the closing
seconds of tight games.
He wasn't there Saturday, still nursing a sprained knee -- but
Dwyane Wade filled his role nicely.
Wade scored 14 of his 25 points in the final quarter, plus
swatted away a layup try by Steve Francis with 10.2 seconds left to
help secure the Heat's 101-98 win over the Orlando Magic.
"I don't get animated too much. When I do, there's a cause
behind it," said Wade, who displayed plenty of emotion down the
stretch. "I was excited at that moment, trying to get my team
going and let everybody know that we were going to win the game."
Wade scored eight straight Miami points in the final minutes,
the first four coming on a pair of tiebreaking jumpers, the last
four from the foul line, including a pair to give the Heat a 99-95
lead with 15.8 seconds left.
And he capped the win with two big defensive plays, including
the block that erased Francis' layup attempt that could have drawn
the Magic within two. Francis drove down the lane and had a step on
Eddie Jones, got the shot off, but Wade soared and sent the ball
bounding into the first row of sideline seats.
"I was surprised Dwyane was able to come over and block that
shot," said Francis, who pointed out that he had two blocks in the
game when asked about Wade's play. "Once I got by Eddie, there was
another guy and I threw the shot. It was a good defensive play."
With Orlando down by three with 0.4 seconds left, Wade tipped
the Magic's inbound pass and kept them from trying a desperation
shot at overtime.
"He certainly asserted himself down the stretch," Orlando
coach Johnny Davis said.
Eddie Jones had 15 points, Damon Jones added 14, Rasual Butler
12 and Michael Doleac 10 for Miami, which was without O'Neal for
essentially a third straight game. He was injured early in Tuesday
night's loss to Chicago.
Orlando's Grant Hill led all scorers with 28 points, on
12-for-17 shooting. Francis, who had 31 points in Orlando's last
matchup with Miami, missed his first six shots from the field and
finished with 16.
"There was a little slippage there with five, six minutes
left," Hill said. "Wade kind of got going. He's a great player,
so that's going to happen."
Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 points, including a 3-pointer that
brought Orlando within 99-98 with 1.1 seconds left, and Jameer
Nelson added 13 points and seven assists for the Magic.
Orlando scored eight straight points and led 75-70 with 11:10
remaining, but the Heat -- helped by six points from Wade --
responded with a 10-2 run over the next three minutes, reclaimed an
Turkoglu's 3-pointer with 7:24 remaining put the Magic back up
81-80, but Miami's reserves scored the next six points and the Heat
wouldn't trail again.
Keyon Dooling's jumper with 6:34 left and highlight-reel dunk 30
seconds later -- afterward, Wade said it was in the top five he'd
seen this season -- put Miami up 84-81.
And although Orlando tied it three times in the final 1:56,
Miami hung on.
"We wanted to win this one. We put an emphasis on not losing
this game," Dooling said. "We have not had a three-game losing
streak all season. We didn't want to start now, especially with the
Big Fella out. Guys needed to step up."
Wade battled through a slow offensive start, not getting his
first field goal until 5:12 before halftime, and was in foul
trouble for much of the game. He went to the bench with his fifth
foul with 7:04 remaining and Miami trailing by one -- and Heat coach
Stan Van Gundy considered leaving him in the game.
Assistant coach Ron Rothstein, however, suggested giving Wade a
brief rest, so Damon Jones replaced him and Dooling was shifted to
point guard. And afterward, the move looked perfect.
"This was a great win for us," said Van Gundy, whose team
moved to an East-leading 41-16. "We didn't really have an answer
for Grant Hill, but we fought and fought ... and did a great job
down the stretch."
The teams play again Sunday in Orlando. ... Miami missed 10
of its first 11 shots. ... Francis started the game wearing
protective goggles, yet shed them quickly in what's become a bit of
a trend; they've been troublesome since he first donned them after
being scratched two weeks ago. ... Miami activated F Christian
Laettner (inflamed arch) from the injured list and placed G Steve
Smith (lower back strain) on the injured list.