Heat center lands awkwardly after alley-oop

Updated: February 23, 2005, 3:08 AM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Shaquille O'Neal gave his Miami Heat teammates quite a scare.

Shaquille O'Neal
Center
Miami Heat
Profile
2004-2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
53 23.1 10.6 3.0 .599 .461

O'Neal strained his left knee in the opening minutes of Miami's 105-101 overtime loss to Chicago on Tuesday night after he went up for an alley-oop pass from Dwyane Wade and fell on the Bulls' Othella Harrington.

O'Neal stayed on the floor for several minutes holding his knee before being helped off the floor. X-rays were negative and he'll be re-evaluated before the Heat's game Wednesday night in Indiana.

The Bulls took advantage of O'Neal's absence as Ben Gordon hit five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and overtime and scored 29 points.

Gordon hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls end Miami's winning streak at seven games. The former Connecticut star has scored 10 or more points in the fourth quarter of an NBA-high 15 games this season.

"I take a lot of pride in it," Gordon said. "It is not really something I say to myself, I'm going to hit every big shot, it sort of happens that way," Gordon said.

After Eddie Jones tied it for the Heat at the buzzer in regulation, scoring off a teammates airball, Gordon scored the first eight points in the overtime period.

His second 3-pointer in overtime put the Bulls up 100-92 with 2:11 left in overtime. Wade and Eddie Jones hit back-to-back 3s for the Heat to cut Chicago's lead to two points.

After Deng hit a pair of free throws and Gordon hit one, Damon Jones hit a 3 for Miami cutting the Chicago lead to 103-101 with 13.8 seconds left. Chris Duhon then hit one of two free throws, making it 104-101. Damon Jones had a chance to tie it for the Heat, but missed a 3 with 7 seconds left.

Wade had 21 points, 11 assists and six rebounds for Miami, and Damon Jones added 18 points and eight rebounds

With the Bulls trailing 86-77, Gordon took over. The Bulls outscored the Heat 15-6 to end the game. Gordon had 11 of those points.

He hit a jumper to start the run, then hit a 3 to cut the Heat lead to 88-84. After Shandon Anderson hit a jumper to put the Heat up 90-86, Gordon followed with back-to-back 3s, the first one he banked in and the second one was over the 6-foot-8 Udonis Haslem, giving the Bulls a 92-90 lead with 39.2 seconds left.

"I called glass. I don't know if everybody heard it though. I sort of said it to myself," Gordon said.

Wade was impressed what Gordon was able to do down the stretch.

"He was unbelievable. He hit some great shots," Wade said. "If they don't go in some people might say they're bad shots, but they went in so they're good shots."

Gordon shot just 2-of-8 in the first half.

Even minus Shaq the Heat never gave in.

The Bulls had a chance to secure victory in regulation, but Wade blocked Kirk Hinrich's shot with 3.1 seconds left with the shot clock winding down. After a timeout, Damon Jones forced up a jumper, which was an airball, but Eddie Jones caught the ball and shot it in just before the buzzer sending the game in overtime tied at 92.

"This is what everybody wanted," Damon Jones said. "Everybody wanted to see Shaq go down, Dwyane go down. We got 12 guys, 11 guys in here that are hungry to get the job done. We want Shaq to get healthy as soon as possible, but we have a job to do."

Eddy Curry added 16 points for Chicago, and Luol Deng scored 14 points. The Bulls have won four straight and 17 of 22.

Nobody on the Bulls is surprised anymore by the clutch performances of Gordon.

"I see it all the time, I see it in practice and I have seen it consistently throughout the year," Chandler said.

With O'Neal out and Michael Doleac in foul trouble, Miami coach Stan Van Gundy had to go with Wang Zhi-Zhi, who has been sparingly used.

Wang scored back-to-back baskets to give the Heat a 69-62 lead late in the third quarter. He finished with six points in 20 minutes

Eddie Jones added 15 for Miami, and Haslem had 13 points. Both had nine rebounds.< ^Notes:@ Wade hit a shot from mid-court at the end of the second quarter, but it was waved off after the officials reviewed the play. ... Bulls coach Scott Skiles was called for a technical foul in the third quarter.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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