Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Saturday, November 12th
Game 2: Friday, January 27th
Game 3: Monday, March 6th
Game 4: Friday, March 24th

Heat 106

(39-20, 17-14 away)

Bobcats 105

(16-45, 10-19 home)

Coverage: NE14

7:30 PM ET, March 6, 2006

Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

1 2 3 4 OT T
MIA 24 28 15 31 8106
CHA 35 24 16 23 7105

Top Performers

Miami: S. O'Neal 35 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Charlotte: G. Wallace 26 Pts, 15 Reb, 2 Ast, 6 Stl, 2 Blk

It's all Shaq in OT as Heat win ninth in a row

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Miami Heat gave Shaquille O'Neal the only birthday gift he wanted: the ball when the game was on the line.

O'Neal marked his 34th birthday with 35 points and accounted for all of Miami's scoring in overtime, leading the Heat over the Charlotte Bobcats 106-105 on Monday night.

"In overtime, I told the guys, `Just bring it to me," O'Neal said. "We were messing around the whole game, so I just told the guys to keep coming to me. And they did."

O'Neal also had 12 rebounds to help the Heat to a season-high ninth consecutive victory. Although he missed several opportunities to put Miami on top in regulation -- he went 2-for-7 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter -- he made amends in the extra period.

He scored on all four of his attempts -- three were dunks -- and had three rebounds to finally put the Bobcats away and close out his birthday with a victory. Asked how he planned to celebrate, O'Neal said he had a low-key evening ahead of him.

"I'm going to just go home, be thankful for my beautiful wife and gorgeous kids, where I live, my job," he said. "Actually, every day is my birthday."

Miami played without leading scorer Dwyane Wade, who sat out with a sprained right wrist. The Heat missed him early, when O'Neal got off to a slow start and the Bobcats built an early 15-point lead.

But Miami was able to hang around and made a run at Charlotte in the fourth quarter.

Jason Williams made three 3s in the final period, including one with 45 seconds to play to tie it at 98. But both teams missed opportunities to win it in regulation. Antoine Walker missed a jumper for Miami, and Primoz Brezec twice missed for Charlotte, including a shot at the final buzzer that didn't even hit the rim.

It was a sign of things to come for Brezec, who was dominated by O'Neal in overtime. O'Neal schooled Brezec on three consecutive baskets, and his dunk with 1:20 to play tied it at 104 and sent Brezec to the bench for good.

Brezec angrily tossed an elbow pad at the chairs as he stomped to his seat.

"No. 7 (Brezec) lost that game tonight, and I take the blame for that," Brezec said.

O'Neal, who scored eight points in overtime, added a layup with 42 seconds left that gave Miami a 106-104 lead -- its first time on top since 2-0.

"He's had some pretty ... good games," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "He's playing extremely well, we're winning and he's stepping up."

The Bobcats were not surprised to see O'Neal take over.

"He is their superstar, he is their go-to man," Gerald Wallace said. "When they needed a win, they went to him. He pulled it out for them and did what he had to do to get this team a win."

Raymond Felton was fouled by Williams as he drove toward the basket, but he missed the first of two free throws to prevent the Bobcats from tying it.

Although the Heat missed at the other end, Miami got the offensive rebound and successfully played keep away by tossing the ball around the key until the final buzzer.

Williams finished with 24 points for Miami and Udonis Haslem and Walker each had 16. Haslem also had 13 rebounds.

Wallace led Charlotte with 25 points, 15 rebounds and six steals. Brevin Knight added 24 points and 11 assists, Felton had 19 points and Brezec finished with 10.

Game notes

Besides Wade, the Heat were also without center Earl Barron and forward Dorrell Wright. ... Charlotte sent guard Bernard Robinson home with a stomach virus. ... Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff plans to talk with trainers Tuesday about forward Emeka Okafor's status. Okafor has missed 35 games with a sprained ankle. ... Bickerstaff is unsure if forward Sean May, who had knee surgery in January, will play again this year. "He's chomping at the bit. Right now, he can shoot." ... Charlotte city leaders, still glowing from the Monday announcement that NASCAR will build its Hall of Fame here, sat courtside for most of the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 106 105
FGM-FGA 42-89 (.472) 38-86 (.442)
3PM-3PA 8-24 (.333) 7-17 (.412)
FTM-FTA 14-25 (.560) 22-28 (.786)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-50 10-44
Assists 18 21
Turnovers 12 9
Steals 6 9
Blocks 1 5
Fast Break Points 10 18
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (2/0) 23 (1/0)
Largest Lead 2 15

Top Performers

Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 35
Reb: 12
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Gerald Wallace Wallace
Points: 26
Reb: 15
Ast: 2
Stl: 6
Blk: 2