NBA Game Summary - Miami at New Jersey
(Monday, March 22nd)
Final Score: Miami 99, New Jersey 89
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 27 points and added 12 assists and seven rebounds, as the Miami Heat earned a 99-89 win over the lowly New Jersey Nets.
Jermaine O'Neal returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's 77-71 win over Charlotte with a sprained left ankle and finished with 25 points and nine boards. Miami, which has won five of seven overall, got a 16-point effort from Michael Beasley.
"We knew it wasn't going be an easy game," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You look at a team like this and just look at the record and you are very deceived by it. You have to give them credit for competing every night."
The Heat remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of Toronto and Charlotte.
Brook Lopez turned in a solid performance with 26 points, while Devin Harris finished with 16 points and six assists for the Nets, who have dropped eight in a row and fell to a woeful 7-63 this season. New Jersey is in danger of establishing a new league mark for futility set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73 over the course of that campaign.
"We had a good, solid first half," Harris said. "But the third quarter we obviously didn't shoot the ball well and we didn't really guard. We dug a whole and could never get it under five."
Nets forward Terrence Williams had nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but exited midway through the third quarter after turning his left ankle and did not return.
New Jersey set the pace in the early going and led 32-25 after the opening 12 minutes. The Heat appeared as if they would have a slim advantage heading into the break after Wade's tip-in made it a 52-50 game in the closing seconds, but Williams hit a half-court shot to put the Nets up by a point.
The Heat came to life early in the third to get a handle on the game with Wade scoring 10 in the quarter. Trailing 57-52 nearly a minute and a half in, O'Neal's hook shot started a 14-4 run over the next several minutes. Carlos Arroyo finished it off with a jumper and the visitors had a 68-61 advantage with 5:46 left in the third.
Miami scored the last five points to close out the period and grab a 79-67 lead after three.
In the fourth quarter, the Nets were able to cut their deficit to six, 91-85, with 2:58 to play after Harris made 1-of-2 from the line, but Wade stemmed the tide with a layup and the Heat didn't let New Jersey get any closer than seven the rest of the way.
Miami forward Udonis Haslem missed the game with a sprained ankle, while Nets guard Keyon Dooling sat out with flu-like symptoms...New Jersey head coach Kiki Vandeweghe was not on the sidelines as he was attending to his ill mother and was replaced by assistant John Loyer...Miami, which improved to 16-18 on the road this season, has won six of its last seven at the IZOD Center...The Nets fell to 3-31 at home...The Nets have lost 14 in a row at home, extending a franchise record...Courtney Lee had 15 points for the Nets.
03/23 05:24:17 ET