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Foul-plagued Shaq comes through late

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Even while spending most of the game
disagreeing with the referees, Shaquille O'Neal was still the
difference for the Miami Heat.

Despite playing just 21 minutes because of foul trouble, O'Neal
scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday
night, leading the Heat to a 101-96 victory over the Milwaukee
Bucks.

"Obviously the referees don't agree, but it's so tough with
Shaq," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They can hold him coming
across the lane and then he gets the ball to make his move (and is
called for a foul). Yeah, he's frustrated. He just basically had to
fight his way across the lane."

O'Neal wasn't available for comment after the game.

Udonis Haslem made all 12 of his free throws to finish with 20
points for Miami, which improved to 11-2 against the Eastern
Conference. Dwyane Wade had 17 points and 10 assists, and Eddie
Jones also scored 17 points.

"Without the big fellow in the game, we executed," Haslem
said. "Sometimes without the big fellow in the game we tend to get
out of whack or out of our system."

Desmond Mason led Milwaukee with 19 points.

"We just couldn't take advantage (with Shaq out)," Milwaukee
coach Terry Porter said. "We had good opportunities but we just
couldn't score."

O'Neal, who had 12 points when he picked up his fifth foul with
8:23 left, finished with six rebounds and four turnovers.

"I thought it was a great win because it's easy when things go
smoothly as they did in Utah most of the game," Van Gundy said.
"But tonight, Shaq could never get in the flow of the game,
although getting 18 points in 21 minutes is not a bad flow for the
way that game went. We didn't even get to play him."

O'Neal played just 12 minutes in the first three quarters. After
picking up his fourth foul with 8:03 left in the third quarter,
O'Neal went to the bench for the rest of the period.

Less than a minute later, he argued the call with referee Ken
Mauer. The official asked O'Neal to repeat himself and the center
replied, "You heard me." Mauer then gave him a technical with
7:21 remaining.

When O'Neal returned with 5:58 left, Miami led 78-72. A free
throw by Mo Williams cut Miami's lead to 87-83 with 1:51 remaining,
but that was as close as Milwaukee got.

Haslem made two free throws and Jones hit a 3-pointer to give
Miami a 92-83 lead with 52.6 seconds left, sealing the win.

"To be honest, and I told them this afterward, I didn't think
it was our best we've played by any means, but that's the best I've
felt about our team the entire season," Van Gundy said. "Because
that was a very, very frustrating game and a hard one to win on the
road the way things were going. We hung in there and got it done."
^Notes:@ After O'Neal got his shot blocked by Dan Gadzuric, the big
center tumbled to the baseline floor and landed next to the legs of
a small child midway through the first quarter. Noticing a camera
was on him, O'Neal then took a sip of a soda he knocked over. ...
Milwaukee's Keith Van Horn missed his third straight game because
of right ankle tendinitis. ... Mason scored his 4,000th career
point in the first half. ... Miami won two games in Milwaukee this
year for the first time since the 1997-98 season. ... Milwaukee is
3-9 against teams currently .500 or better.