NBA Game Summary - Miami at New Jersey
(Wednesday, November 3rd)
Final Score: Miami 100, New Jersey 77
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Dwyane Wade paced a balanced attack with 21 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 16 in his Heat debut, leading Miami to an easy 100-77 win over the New Jersey Nets at the Meadowlands.
O'Neal started despite a lingering hamstring injury that threatened to derail his first appearance with his new team. He only needed to play 21 minutes, but he was effective when on the floor.
"I felt pretty good," O'Neal said. "We've been working so hard, myself and the guys. We were focused and we came to play."
Rasual Butler also had 16 points for the Heat, who opened the season with a road win for the first time in franchise history. Wade also had six assists and five rebounds while three others scored in double digits, including all five starters.
Richard Jefferson led the way for the Nets with 19 points and Zoran Planinic came off the bench to score 11. Alonzo Mourning, who was forced into retirement early last season because of his chronic kidney condition, had seven points in 14 minutes in his first game with a new kidney.
The loss marks what could be the beginning of a very long season for the Nets, who pared the payroll under new owner Bruce Ratner, dismantling a team that went to the NBA Finals in consecutive seasons in 2002 and '03.
Gone are rugged forward Kenyon Martin and veteran shooter Kerry Kittles to Denver and the Clippers, respectively. Not to mention that All-Star point guard Jason Kidd is expected to be sidelined until December after offseason knee surgery.
"It's a process and it's going to be a long season," said Nets coach Lawrence Frank, who will be working in his first full season. "We're disappointed in our performance and we have a long way to go."
The Heat dominated at the outset, scoring the first seven points of the night on the way to a 29-15 first-quarter lead. Wade gave Miami a glimpse of the future when he fed the ball inside to O'Neal for a big dunk.
New Jersey made just 4-of-19 shots in the opening 12 minutes, paling in comparison to Miami's 11-for-16 clip.
Planinic netted eight points off the bench in the first half of the second period to get the Nets within striking distance. Ron Mercer finished off the stanza with six of New Jersey's next eight points before halftime to pull his team within two before Eddie Jones' three in the waning seconds made it 46-41.
Jones, Wade and Butler tallied 10 points apiece in the first half, as did Jefferson at the other end.
The third period resembled the first, with the Heat reeling off 28 points to go ahead by 18. A three by Butler with seven minutes to go keyed a 7-0 spurt that handed Miami a 12-point advantage and Malik Allen's jumper with 10 seconds left made it 74-56.
The onslaught continued in the fourth with O'Neal watching from the bench in the final eight minutes. A three by Damon Jones with 7:12 to play gave Miami an 86-60 cushion and the Heat coasted from there.
"I think we were really tight in the first quarter," Jefferson said. "We calmed down in the second quarter. In the second half, we just didn't get it done."
The Nets were held without a three-point shot until Rodney Buford's trey with 6:13 to go. He made another in the closing stages as New Jersey finished 2- for-8 from beyond the arc.
Miami snapped a six-game losing streak in the Garden State...The home team in this series had won seven straight and 10 of the last 12 matchups coming into this one...Damon Jones tallied 15 points off the bench while Udonis Haslem and Eddie Jones had 10 apiece.
11/04 00:17:46 ET