Still, Miami found a way to end its longest losing streak of the
season -- and finally beat the Pacers as well.
Eddie Jones scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Damon
Jones added 16 points and the Heat knocked off Indiana 84-80 on
Sunday, to end their four-game losing streak and beat the Pacers
for the first time in 13 regular-season meetings.
Shaquille O'Neal scored 11 points in 17 minutes, leaving shortly
before halftime with a bruised right thigh after an inadvertent
kneeing by Jermaine O'Neal.
"We're a talented team and we're a tough team," said Wade, who
finished with 13 points on 4-for-15 shooting. "I don't know if
people think we're soft because we live in Miami or what. But
whether Shaq's playing or Shaq's not playing, we're going out and
showing we're a good basketball team."
The game was physical throughout, and turned especially chippy
late. A pair of mild altercations resulted in no ejections,
although Jermaine O'Neal appeared to pull Udonis Haslem down as the
two battled for the ball -- after a made free throw -- with 1:41
Miami's lead was often precarious and never grew larger than
eight in the final 19 minutes, yet the Pacers never led in the
"It's good to get a win against them because of the way we got
it," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "And having to really battle
and do it defensively and rebound and be tough and suck it up, even
when they made their run in the second half. It's good for all
those reasons. It's good because we lost four in a row."
Stephen Jackson finished with 21 points for Indiana, which fell
two games behind Washington in the race for the Eastern
Conference's No. 5 playoff seed. Reggie Miller scored 18 for the
Pacers, with Jermaine O'Neal adding 16 in his first game back after
missing 22 with a shoulder injury.
"We just couldn't get over the hump," said Jackson, who got
tangled up with Alonzo Mourning late in the game. "And they did
what they needed to do to win the game."
Down the stretch, the Heat certainly could have used their
But Alonzo Mourning did his part to secure the win, blocking two
late shots -- including one by Jackson with 26 seconds remaining,
preserving the Heat's five-point lead.
"It was a tough break when Shaq went out at halftime," Pacers
coach Rick Carlisle said. "They were able to keep it together and
get it done. You have to give them a lot of credit."
Another big defensive play by Mourning led to a huge momentum
shift with 2:31 left.
Jermaine O'Neal drove to the basket with a chance to cut Miami's
lead to three, but Mourning blocked his layup try. Wade pushed the
ball up the court, and Damon Jones -- who had 13 points after
halftime -- hit a 3-pointer to give the Heat an 80-72 lead.
Damon Jones has averaged 16.8 points against the Pacers this
year; 11.3 against everybody else.
"Damon Jones, who has hurt us all year, hurt us again,"
Miller had six points to fuel a 12-2 run by Indiana, pulling the
Pacers into a 60-all tie with 3:21 left in the quarter. Wade ended
the Indiana flurry with 2:31 left in the third, converting a
three-point play to put Miami up 63-60 -- and ending a personal run
of nine straight misses.
Keyon Dooling scored five points in the first 2½ minutes of the
fourth quarter, including a layup to give the Heat a 71-64 lead.
Jermaine O'Neal scored the game's next six points, but the Pacers
never could retake the lead.
"Both teams are testy and it was a hard-fought game toward the
end," Miller said. "That's what it's all about."
Van Gundy, who has 99 regular-season wins in his two
seasons, has now beaten every NBA team. ... Wade has 1,840 points
this season, a new Heat record. Glen Rice had 1,831 a decade ago.
... Jackson said some fans were trying to entice him into a fight
late in the game. "The days of punching fans are over," said
Jackson, who was suspended for 30 games for his role in the brawl
between the Pacers and Pistons in Detroit earlier this season. ...
In the two games since his 18-for-33, career-high 48-point night in
Philadelphia, Wade is 10-for-32 for 30 total points. ... Indiana
hadn't lost consecutive games since March 20 and 22, when it was
swept in a home-and-home by New Jersey. ... Raiders wide receiver
Randy Moss, a Heat season-ticket holder, caught a freebie T-shirt
during a time-out -- and promptly tossed it to a young girl sitting
a few rows back.