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Wade's 31, third-quarter play of Walker, Haslem sink Nets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The wake-up call came early Sunday
for an 8 a.m. walk-through -- a decidedly unusual gathering in NBA
circles.

"Make no mistake," Udonis Haslem said. "It was grueling."

But it worked -- and Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal and company
are a win away from a return to the Eastern Conference finals.

Wade had 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and the
Miami Heat beat the New Jersey Nets 102-92 to take a 3-1 lead in
their best-of-seven series.

"We're not surprised. When we play Miami Heat basketball on
both ends of the floor, we're a tough team to beat, at home or on
the road," Wade said. "We go home to Game 5 and try to close it
out at home."

Wade was sensational as usual, but it was the play of Antoine Walker and Haslem during a key stretch of the third quarter that
gave Miami the cushion it needed to hold on for its third straight
victory. The Heat can now wrap it up when they host Game 5 on
Tuesday night in Miami.

"I've said it all year," O'Neal said. "If we do what we're
supposed to do, we'll be fine."

Walker scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Haslem added 20
points and 11 rebounds, shooting 8-of-11. They combined for 16 of
Miami's 22 points during the third period, when the Heat built
their lead to as much as 11.

"They hit shots, they hit a lot of shots," Nets forward
Richard Jefferson said. "Udonis Haslem, I swear he didn't miss one
tonight."

Jason Kidd tried to rally the Nets, collecting his ninth
postseason triple-double and moving over to guard Wade after his
hot start. But New Jersey could never regain the lead after the
first quarter.

Kidd had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, tying Wilt
Chamberlain for third place on the postseason career list and
moving within one of Larry Bird for second.

Vince Carter added 26 points and Jefferson scored 17. Nenad
Krstic had 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Only eight teams in 163 series have come back from a 3-1 deficit
to win a best-of-seven series, though it did happen earlier in this
postseason when the Phoenix Suns rallied past the Los Angeles
Lakers.

"It's tough. You want to take care of business at home,"
Carter said. "We put ourselves in the hole. We're not going to
hang our heads and say it's over. I expect us to come out stick
together, play hard."

The game was tied at 54 before Walker drilled consecutive
3-pointers for a 60-54 lead. Carter made a basket, but Haslem
knocked down three straight jumpers as the Heat pushed the lead to
66-56 with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter.

"Antoine is there to be a psychological threat," Miami coach
Pat Riley said. "Teams feel he might go on a run. Udonis was solid
throughout the game defensively and in the third making shots."

The lead grew to 70-59 on Walker's basket in the lane with 4:03
left in the quarter, but Lamond Murray hit a 3-pointer and Kidd
made three free throws at the end of a 12-4 spurt as the Nets
pulled within 74-71 with 1:11 to go. Miami was up 76-73 after
three.

The Heat didn't even need much from O'Neal, who took only 13
shots and scored 16 points. Maybe that's why forward Jason Collins
thinks the Nets would be better forcing O'Neal to do more instead
of double-teaming him and leaving shooters open.

"Stick with the game plan of making Shaq beat us," he said.
"From Game 1 that's been the strategy. Sometimes we're able to do
that and sometimes we're not."

Wade opened the fourth with a drive before the Nets scored four
straight to get within one. Carter then missed two free throws, and
the Nets missed three more chances to take the lead before Haslem's
follow made it 80-77 with 7:38 to go.

Haslem added two more big plays down the stretch, hitting a
jumper after a scramble to extend Miami's lead to 92-87 with 2:37
remaining, then hitting a pair of free throws with 1:32 left after
the Nets had gotten within two.

Wade was 6-of-7 in the first quarter, capping his 12-point
period with a jumper with 2.4 seconds left that gave Miami a 27-24
lead. The Heat shot 65 percent (13-for-20) in the first 12 minutes.

But they missed a chance to expand their lead much more with
some poor free throw shooting in the second. They missed four of
seven during a 4-minute stretch without a field goal, allowing New
Jersey to tie it at 44.

Jason Williams made a 3-pointer to break the tie, and Walker
added one later in the period as Miami took a 54-48 lead at
halftime. The Nets were only 7-of-25 (28 percent) from the field in
the second quarter and 37 percent in the first half.

Game notes
Magic Johnson is the career leader with 30 postseason
triple-doubles. ... Miami improved to 4-0 in playoff games at New
Jersey, including wins in Game 3 and 4 during their first-round
sweep in 2005. ... The New York Giants' Eli Manning and LaVar
Arrington were among those in the crowd. ... The Heat improved to
6-0 when leading at halftime in this postseason.