MIAMI (AP) -- Stan Van Gundy's mood was somber. A steamed
Shaquille O'Neal skipped postgame interviews.
Good thing the Miami Heat won, or the fallout may have been
Wade had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for Miami, which
won its third straight -- and improved Stan Van Gundy's record to
2-1 when facing his brother, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy. It's not
a matchup either coach looks forward to, and winning simply doesn't
feel the same when it comes at a sibling's expense.
"On nights that he loses, you feel bad," Stan Van Gundy said.
"I'd rather not have to do it, but we have to. It's not as much
fun as the other times."
Foul trouble limited O'Neal to 27 minutes; he had 15 points and
five rebounds, but did come up with a crucial three-point play in
the final minute to help seal the win.
Udonis Haslem hit his first seven shots from the floor and
finished with 16 for Miami, as did Damon Jones. Eddie Jones added
11, meaning all five Heat starters hit double figures for the
second straight game.
"I think guys are getting more comfortable in their role,
taking shots when they're there," Wade said. "Hopefully that
continues. That'll mean we'll be at our best come playoff time."
Tracy McGrady had 28 points -- on 10-of-26 shooting -- for
Houston, which had won three straight road games. Yao Ming had 12
of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, and Bob
Sura added 21 -- 15 of those coming in the game's first 13 minutes.
The Rockets were just 1-of-12 from 3-point range in the second
half, allowed the Heat to shoot 50 percent for the game and turned
12 Miami turnovers into only three points.
"We are making a lot of mistakes," Jeff Van Gundy said. "We
are having a lot of trouble with the pick and roll. Some reasons
for the defensive problems are obvious and others are just because
we are not doing the job right."
Including the playoffs, it was the eighth time in 12 meetings
that O'Neal came away victorious from a matchup against Yao. But
the matchup of the two leading votegetters for this year's All-Star
game didn't exactly turn into a memorable showdown.
Both marquee centers missed long stretches with foul trouble;
O'Neal also drew a third-quarter technical foul when he argued that
he was fouled by Yao.
The Rockets got within 71-70 when McGrady hit a jumper with 1:38
left in the third, but Miami scored the next seven points -- the
last five on consecutive Eddie Jones jumpers to open the fourth
quarter -- and maintained its lead throughout the final period.
"Our defense wasn't great tonight," Sura said. "They played
pretty good offensively, and we just had a hard time guarding
The teams combined for 83 points in the half's opening 18
minutes, then managed only 11 in the six minutes leading to
halftime. Miami missed seven of its final nine shots before
intermission; Houston was worse, misfiring on eight of nine --
including its last seven tries.
Both teams even missed a dunk in the waning minutes of the half;
Yao threw the ball into the back of the rim after collecting an
offensive rebound, and Wade failed to convert a high-flying attempt
after a baseline drive about a minute later.
Miami led by just two points at the break, 48-46, despite
outshooting Houston 54.1 percent to 39.0 percent. It was only the
20th time in 46 games where the Heat held a halftime lead.
Damon Jones, the 3-point-happy Miami guard, was 5-for-8
from inside the arc. "I'm trying to enter the two-point shooting
contest for All-Star weekend," said Jones, who's third leaguewide
in 3-pointers made this season. ... Haslem and Sura were each
5-of-5 from the floor in the first half and led their teams in
scoring at the break, yet neither was much of a factor at any point
in the second quarter. Sura didn't have any shots or points in the
final 11:09; Haslem none in the last 9:51. ... Yao, Wade and O'Neal
each had two fouls before any other player was whistled for a
single one. ... O'Neal didn't get to the foul line until 8:49
remained in the game; he averaged an NBA-best 11.1 attempts per
game coming in. ... Among the celebs in attendance were rapper
Jay-Z and saxophonist Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen and the
E Street Band, along with former Heat players Glen Rice and Alonzo