Miami wins series 4-0 (Game 1 of 4)

Miami wins series 4-0

Game 1: Sunday, April 24th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 26th
Game 3: Thursday, April 28th
Game 4: Sunday, May 1st

Nets 98

(42-40, 18-23 away)

Heat 116

(59-23, 35-6 home)

3:00 PM ET, April 24, 2005

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

1 2 3 4 T
NJ 19 23 31 2598
MIA 22 32 33 29116

Top Performers

NJ: V. Carter 27 Pts, 10 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

Mia: D. Wade 32 Pts, 5 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Blk

Carter's 27 and 10 goes to waste for Nets

MIAMI (AP) -- Mindful of Shaquille O'Neal's playoff history, the New Jersey Nets wanted to limit his touches.

And while their plan kept O'Neal's numbers down, Dwyane Wade and Damon Jones took advantage of all the extra open space.

Wade had 32 points and Jones made seven 3-pointers and scored 30 -- playoff career-highs for both -- as the Heat defeated New Jersey 116-98 Sunday in the opener of their first-round series.

Wade connected on 12 of 18 shots and had eight assists, while Jones was 10-for-12 from the floor -- including 7-for-9 from 3-point range -- as the Heat set franchise playoff highs in scoring and field-goal percentage (.592).

"I had a conversation with D. Jones and D. Wade and told them if I wasn't 100 percent, I'd need them to give a little extra," said O'Neal, still slowed by a bruised thigh. "They both stepped up and shot the ball well. I didn't have the explosiveness I usually do. I didn't have 'The Diesel' explosiveness. Today I had 'The Firecracker' explosiveness."

O'Neal graded himself "an F" health-wise. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes, well off his 27.1-point career playoff average and the 36.3-point pace he had against the Nets in the 2002 NBA finals.

"I don't think we'll see Shaq at his absolute best until probably until late in this series or into the next series," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Vince Carter had 27 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which won 15 of its final 19 games to get the East's No. 8 seed but is now 0-4 against Miami this season.

"We knew they could score a lot of points if we didn't defend the 3-point shot and just left them open," Carter said. "He attracts a lot of attention. We just have to do a better job, that's all, of trying to run them off the 3 a little bit."

Jason Kidd added 18 points for the Nets, who have won just one playoff series -- a first-rounder against Indiana in 2002 -- after dropping a Game 1.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Miami.

After Jones and Wade made consecutive jumpers to give Miami its largest lead, 20 points, with 7:48 left, Carter's deep 3-pointer with 6:37 left capped a 7-0 run that drew the Nets within 99-86. But O'Neal scored the game's next three points, the sellout crowd exhaled, and the outcome was sealed.

"It's playoff time. It's not the Dwyane show. It's not the Shaq show," Wade said. "It's the Miami Heat's time."

Travis Best, Clifford Robinson and Nenad Krstic each had 11 points for New Jersey. Udonis Haslem had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Miami.

New Jersey forward Richard Jefferson, who missed the final 49 games of the regular season with a ruptured ligament in his left wrist, returned and had nine points on 3-for-7 shooting in 23 minutes.

"I feel fine, surprisingly," Jefferson said. "I didn't have my lateral quickness. It's tough trying to guard an All-NBA player like Dwyane Wade when you don't have that."

With Miami mired in an early 1-for-9 slump, New Jersey hit eight of 10 shots and took an 18-11 lead when Kidd made a layup with 4:38 left in the opening quarter.

The Heat, however, quickly got back on track.

Wade hit two jumpers in the final 32.4 seconds of the quarter to give Miami a 22-19 lead, and Alonzo Mourning -- playing against the team he opened the season with -- had consecutive baskets, including a two-handed slam of a miss by Wade, early in the second quarter to fuel a 20-3 run that put Miami up 31-21.

The Nets missed 16 of 17 shots over an 11½-minute stretch of the half and trailed by as many as 16 late in the second quarter before going into halftime down 54-42.

Allowing Miami to put together one big run doomed the Nets in each of their three regular-season losses to the Heat. In those games, Miami used a 19-6 run in the first game, a 19-8 flurry in the second and a 28-7 burst in the third to turn close games into relatively one-sided affairs.

And once again, the Nets couldn't find a way to overcome the big Miami burst.

New Jersey got within 10 points on four separate occasions in the third quarter, yet never cut the Heat's margin into single digits and trailed 87-73 entering the fourth.

"We played hard," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We just have to do a few things better."

Game notes

Krstic was taken for back X-rays after the game. ... Miami's reserves were 7-for-10 from the floor for 15 points in the first half; no Nets reserve had a field goal before Clifford Robinson's jumper from the right corner with 7:39 left in the third quarter. ... Heat G Keyon Dooling made the first playoff appearance of his career after 277 regular-season games. ... Celebrities in the crowd included rapper Jay-Z, Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss and actor Jamie Foxx, who's scheduled to begin shooting his next film, "Miami Vice," here in June.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 98 116
FGM-FGA 34-78 (.436) 42-71 (.592)
3PM-3PA 10-22 (.455) 9-15 (.600)
FTM-FTA 20-26 (.769) 23-35 (.657)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-39 7-42
Assists 22 21
Turnovers 8 10
Steals 5 4
Blocks 0 2
Fast Break Points 16 8
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/0) 21 (1/0)
Largest Lead 7 20

Top Performers

New Jersey
Vince Carter Carter
Points: 27
Reb: 10
Ast: 8
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Dwyane Wade Wade
Points: 32
Reb: 5
Ast: 8
Stl: 0
Blk: 1