<
>

Wade's heroics 'a dream come true'

NEW YORK (AP) -- As Dwyane Wade's shot arched downward and headed
straight for the net, plenty was hanging in the balance for the
Miami Heat: clinching a playoff spot, reaching 50 wins, silencing
Madison Square Garden.

All of the above happened Tuesday night as Wade's fadeaway
22-footer swished through the hoop as the final buzzer sounded,
giving Miami a 98-96 victory over the New York Knicks and extending
the Heat's winning streak to 10 games.

"When they put the ball in your hands, they put it there for a
reason," Wade said. "That's a shot I always dreamed of taking,
especially at the Garden. It was a dream come true for me."

Wade sprinted toward the opposite end of the court after sinking
the game-winner, his jubilant teammates running over to
congratulate him as Wade stared into the stands.

"I saw a lot of people looking at me in disbelief that I hit
that shot, and it felt good to look in the people's eyes and see
that they didn't believe it," Wade said

This victory didn't come as easily as Miami's last three, in
which the victory margins were 17, 25, and 39, and that helped make
it all the more satisfying. After putting together a 14-game
winning streak earlier this season, Miami became the first Eastern
Conference team since the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls to have two
double-digit winning streaks in a single season.

Wade finished with 24 points and five assists, Shaquille O'Neal
scored 23 and Damon Jones made six 3s for 18 points.

Stephon Marbury led New York with 24 points, Tim Thomas added 20
and Jamal Crawford had 12 assists.

Miami improved to 3-0 against the Knicks this season and 27-4
against teams with sub-.500 records. The Heat have not lost since
Feb. 23.

"We're working for the No. 1 spot," O'Neal said. "We just
have to keep our poise and get better."

The loss was a frustrating one for the Knicks, who gave one of
their better all-around efforts of the season but came up short.

New York had a chance to go ahead on the game's next-to-last
possession, but Kurt Thomas came up short on an 18-footer from the
corner. Miami rebounded and called its final timeout with 14
seconds left.

Wade was isolated against rookie defender Trevor Ariza at the
top of the key. Switching his dribble from hand to hand and using
his quick footwork, Wade gave himself just enough room to shoot.

"I played him straight up. He hit a tough shot to win the game,
and there's nothing else to say," Ariza said. "He's an All-Star.
He's going to hit shots like that."

Miami got off to a strong start, using a 15-2 run in the first
quarter to take a 27-16 lead. Crawford got the Knicks back into it
in the second quarter, finishing the first half with seven assists
to lead New York to a 50-44 lead at the break.

O'Neal finally made a foul shot after missing his first seven --
nine actually, including a pair of misses that were retried due to
lane violations -- with 7:21 left in the third quarter. But the Heat
played from behind throughout the period and trailed 78-68 entering
the fourth quarter.

An 8-0 run made it a two-point game at 83-81, and Keyon Dooling
made a pair of foul shots to give Miami an 87-85 lead with 5
minutes left. Neither team led by more than four points the rest of
the way.

Game notes
Wade hit a 3-pointer to end the third quarter, his second
in as many nights but just his seventh of the season. ... The crowd
booed Donald Trump, who sat courtside with his wife. ... Knicks G
Allan Houston missed his 24th consecutive game due to left knee
soreness but still expects to return sometime this season. "To sum
it up, there's definitely a little more strength, but there are a
lot of things we're targeting that are away from my knees that are`
addressing the cause of the problem," he said, explaining there is
misalignment in other parts of his body. "It's not really about
the knee, it's about everything." ... Shaquille O'Neal endorsed
Herb Williams to remain past this season as coach of the Knicks.
"He should get a shot instead of trying to hire a superstar
coach," O'Neal said.