SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The big man in the middle carried the
Miami Heat -- not Shaquille O'Neal, but the 35-year-old guy with one
kidney and a huge heart who's in the midst of a stunning career
Alonzo Mourning blocked seven shots in a dominant defensive
performance, and Dwyane Wade's 27 points and seven assists provided
just enough offense in the Heat's fourth straight victory over the
Sacramento Kings, 98-87 on Friday night.
Miami was 3-of-14 in the fourth quarter and made 20 turnovers in
the game, nearly giving it away at several junctures. Mourning
wouldn't allow it, blocking four shots in the fourth quarter and
seemingly challenging every drive to the hoop.
Mourning played just 137 games over the past five seasons while
recovering from kidney disease and the resulting transplant. He
single-handedly turning the Kings into a bunch of tentative,
inaccurate jump-shooters -- and like the Sacramento fans, his
teammates and coaches could only marvel.
"Zo at the rim, it's crazy," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said.
"You literally can't score on him. Seven blocks, and how many
other shots did he change? ... He's just playing at an extremely
It was one of the most impressive defensive efforts in recent
years at Arco Arena, where the Kings annually are among the NBA's
highest-scoring teams. Mourning, who also had 12 points and six
rebounds, saw nothing remarkable in his defense, which includes 27
blocks in the last five games.
"It's something I've been doing my whole career," he said. "I
haven't been keeping up with (the statistics). The only thing I
keep up with is Ws. I'm not a child any more. I don't care about
numbers. All I care about now is a championship ring."
Mourning also got into an entertaining fourth-quarter battle
with Brad Miller, with Mourning accusing Miller of pulling him into
a charging foul. Mourning then blocked consecutive Sacramento shots
with 9:20 to play.
"I was saying, 'Can I please get one shot off?" asked Bonzi
Wells, who scored 16 points. "I was almost hoping Shaq played.
(Mourning) is an excellent defender."
Jason Williams scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half for
the Heat, who made just enough defensive stops down the stretch to
hang on for their third straight win despite 20 turnovers and
3-of-14 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Although this victory was nearly as ugly as the Kings' shooting,
the Heat have won the first two games of a five-game trip, which
culminates in a meeting with the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on
Miller had 18 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the
Kings, who lost their second straight after climbing back to .500
for the first time this season. The Kings had ample chances to
catch up, but missed all eight of their 3-pointers in the fourth
"We had one stretch there in the fourth quarter when we had
(Miami's lead) down, and I thought we took three hurried shots,"
coach Rick Adelman said. "That was the time we needed to slow up,
and we didn't do it."
Peja Stojakovic was awful again in his third straight game back
from a three-game absence with a sprained finger. The slumping
Serbian went 3-for-16 and missed all six of his shots in the fourth
Stojakovic is 7-for-34 since rejoining the lineup with a bandage
on his sprained finger, but his teammates also struggled to hit
open shots. Mike Bibby had 16 points and nine assists, but was
1-for-5 in the fourth quarter.
"We couldn't make a big shot, especially me," Stojakovic said.
"I'm trying to be aggressive, but my shot didn't look good. My
finger is feeling better every day, but I'm struggling right now."
Wade was outstanding despite battling foul trouble, while James
Posey and Antoine Walker hit three 3-pointers apiece for the Heat.
Williams matched his season high with four 3-pointers in the
first half, coolly pulling up for the long shots still familiar to
fans in Sacramento, where he played his first three NBA seasons
before getting traded for Bibby.
The Heat stretched its lead to 13 in the second quarter with a
23-12 run. Sacramento pulled within four points in the third, but
never got closer.
For the first time in Van Gundy's recent memory, the Heat
had 13 healthy players, forcing rookie Gerald Fitch to be
scratched. "We have to make decisions. It's great," Van Gundy
quipped. ... A fan hit a half-court shot in the third quarter to
win a truck. ... O'Neal missed his 14th straight game with a
sprained right ankle, watching from the bench in a nattily tailored