Final / 2OT

Miami wins series 4-0 (Game 3 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

Heat 108

(59-23, 24-17 away)

Nets 105

(42-40, 24-17 home)

7:00 PM ET, April 28, 2005

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 OT 2OT T
MIA 17 32 25 16 9 9108
NJ 24 21 24 21 9 6105

Top Performers

Mia: D. Wade 22 Pts, 10 Reb, 8 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

NJ: V. Carter 36 Pts, 9 Reb, 10 Ast, 3 Stl

Carter's jumper forces second OT, but Heat hold up

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The ball bounced Vince Carter's way. The game didn't.

One of the luckiest shots of Carter's career -- a shot that took five or six bounces off the backboard and rim before dropping through to force a second overtime -- couldn't keep the New Jersey Nets from losing 108-105 to the Miami Heat on Thursday night.

Carter's shot was something, a 21-footer from the corner that ricocheted every which way before going in. But it would end up being the final moment of magic for the Nets as they fell behind 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.

"I had missed a 3 earlier and I wanted another opportunity, and I got lucky," Carter said. "We were fortunate it gave us a new life."

But that life lasted only five more minutes, and the problem now confronting New Jersey is one that no NBA team has ever solved -- overcoming a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

Miami can complete a sweep Sunday.

Shaquille O'Neal had his best game of the series with 25 points, Udonis Haslem had the final go-ahead basket among his 14 points and 19 rebounds, Dwyane Wade had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Eddie Jones added 20 points for the Heat.

Carter scored 36, Richard Jefferson had 23 and Jason Kidd had a triple-double of 16 points, 13 assists and 16 rebounds for the Nets, whose best chance to win came at the end of regulation when Kidd had an open shot from 3-point range.

But he couldn't connect, and Carter's crazy bounce only ended up prolonging the eventual loss. Haslem's putback made it 104-102 with 1:26 left, and a missed 3 by Clifford Robinson and a blown layup by Jefferson helped seal New Jersey's defeat.

The Nets were hurt by their 3-for-23 shooting from 3-point range and nine missed free throws in 27 attempts.

Miami went 10-for-22 on 3s to help overcome 16 missed foul shots in 38 attempts.

"Man, this team is very resilient," said Heat center Alonzo Mourning, who grabbed a key rebound late in the second overtime. "This just shows the toughness and character of this team in digging out a win like this."

Carter's corner jumper at the end of the first overtime rolled around the iron, bounced high off the glass, came down and bounced four more times on the rim before dropping through to tie the game at 99.

"I thought once it hit every piece of the rim and fell in, we had another opportunity, and anytime you have an opportunity like that against a team like Miami you have to take advantage of it," Kidd said.

Carter's shot came after Jones, normally a solid foul shooter, missed two free throws with 11.5 seconds remaining to leave the Nets just two points behind.

In double overtime, Haslem went to the line with 20.6 seconds left and made the first of two free throws to make it 105-102. After he missed the second, Mourning outfought Jason Collins for the rebound to allow the Heat the keep possession with a three-point lead.

The inbounds pass went to Wade, and the Heat sealed the victory from the line.

It was their sixth victory over New Jersey in as many tries this season, but this was the first time the Nets kept one of the games close.

"I know this is easy to say as the winning coach, but no one deserved to lose that game," Miami's Stan Van Gundy said.

New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank opted to stick with the same starting lineup from the first two games, keeping Jefferson in a reserve role. Jefferson gave the Nets an immediate boost after checking in midway through the first quarter, scoring 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting to help turn a 15-10 deficit into a 28-18 lead.

O'Neal finally made his first field goal with 6:18 left in the second quarter, and he scored 12 points over the rest of the half. The main reason, however, for the Heat's 49-45 halftime lead was Keyon Dooling's 13 points in the period on 6-for-7 shooting, including a running jumper just before the halftime buzzer.

Damon Jones made a pair of 3s early in the third quarter to stretch Miami's lead, and his 3 with 46 seconds left in the quarter gave the Heat its largest lead, 74-64.

The Nets opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to take a 77-76 lead, and no more than four points separated the teams the rest of the way.

Game notes

Kidd had his eighth postseason triple-double. ... Mourning, who began the season with New Jersey before being involved in the Carter trade, was the recipient of boos and derisive chants from the sellout crowd of 20,174. ... NBA commissioner Davis Stern's take on whether the Nets will get a new arena built in Brooklyn: "Smarter people than me seem to expect that it will get done."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 108 105
FGM-FGA 38-84 (.452) 42-107 (.393)
3PM-3PA 10-22 (.455) 3-23 (.130)
FTM-FTA 22-38 (.579) 18-27 (.667)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-51 18-57
Assists 22 27
Turnovers 18 15
Steals 9 10
Blocks 3 1
Fast Break Points 15 12
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 32 (1/0)
Largest Lead 10 10

Top Performers

New Jersey
Dwyane Wade Wade
Points: 22
Reb: 10
Ast: 8
Stl: 4
Blk: 1
Vince Carter Carter
Points: 36
Reb: 9
Ast: 10
Stl: 3
Blk: 0