MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Heat overcame a lackluster first half to
keep two winning streaks alive.
Eddie Jones scored 14 of his 18 points in a decisive third
quarter to send the Heat to their eighth consecutive win, 90-65
over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday.
Shaquille O'Neal had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who
allowed their lowest point total of the season. Damon Jones added
15 points and Dwyane Wade 13 as Miami won its 12th consecutive home
"We came together in the third quarter," Eddie Jones said.
"We huddled up and said, 'Let's step it up."
Vince Carter scored 20 for the Nets, who managed just 26 points
in the second half and lost for the fourth time in five games. They
shot 29.7 percent overall, but their point total wasn't a season
low. The Nets beat Portland 64-60 on Nov. 9.
Miami took control in the third quarter, when it scored 33
points and turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 70-55
advantage. New Jersey shot 3-of-18 in the quarter and never
threatened after that.
"We just kept packing it in," O'Neal said of Miami's defense.
"Teams are going to have to shoot really well from outside to beat
Miami shot 47.8 percent for the game, with Eddie Jones going
6-of-9 and Damon Jones 6-of-10.
"When you have two players like Wade and O'Neal, they're going
to be able to get guys open shots," Nets forward Cliff Robinson
said. "Eddie Jones was able to knock down those shots, he was
Wade had nine points in the fourth to run his streak of scoring
in double figures to 39 consecutive games. Foul trouble limited
Wade to just four points through three quarters.
O'Neal's streak of recording at least one block in 21 straight
games ended. With Miami holding a big lead, O'Neal didn't play in
the fourth quarter.
Alonzo Mourning scored three points, including his second field
goal since rejoining the Heat on March 1. Steve Smith played in his
first game since being acquired Feb. 24.
The win, combined with San Antonio's loss to Denver later
Saturday, left the Heat (48-16) only percentage points behind the
Spurs and Phoenix (both 47-15) in the race for the NBA's best
Jason Kidd had seven points, seven rebounds and four assists as
New Jersey built a 39-37 halftime lead. The Heat barely avoided
tying their season low of 36 points in a half.
"I thought the first half was horrible," Heat coach Stan Van
Gundy said. "We didn't bring any energy or life at all."
Miami scored the final nine points of the first quarter to take
a 22-17 lead. Damon Jones scored 10, sinking four of five shots
overall and two of three 3-pointers.
"With 2:59 left in the third quarter, it was an eight-point
game," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Eight becomes 15 at the
end of the third and so on and so forth. ... We were not able to
end their runs. It was not pretty."
^Notes:@ Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss, former Heat
center Rony Seikaly and rapper Lil' Jon were at the game. ... It
was the teams' final meeting this season. The Heat won all three.
... Miami's record for consecutive home wins is 14, which began
late last season and extended into the beginning of this season.
... Carter has scored at least 20 points in 26 of his last 28