Heat get first home win of season behind Shaq, Wade

MIAMI (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade looked as good as they did while leading the Miami Heat to an NBA title.

O'Neal and Wade both had their best games of the season, and the Heat finally won at home, beating the Houston Rockets 98-91 on Friday night.

O'Neal had season highs of 26 points and 14 rebounds, Wade scored a season-high 31 points, and the Heat handed the Rockets their sixth straight loss.

"It was about time," said Wade, who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. "Coach always puts me in a position to have the ball late in the game. My teammates have an unbelievable amount of confidence in me to help us win the game."

O'Neal downplayed his performance.

"Guys were getting me the ball in a position where I can do something," O'Neal said. "It was a good game for us, a must win."

O'Neal played strongly from the opening tip, scoring on the game's first possession and blocking Tracy McGrady's shot the first time Houston had the ball.

"Shaq set a tone right from the start," McGrady said. "He was consistent throughout the whole ballgame and made it tough on us. He put our big guys in jeopardy. He was just attacking."

Ricky Davis added 12 points and Udonis Haslem 11 for Miami, which had been 0-5 at home.

Yao Ming and Luis Scola each scored 20 points, and McGrady had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Houston.

Yao felt O'Neal's presence directly in several ways. He had a 12-foot jumper stuffed by the Heat center with 9:19 left in the third quarter, and then fouled out late in the game.

"He played like he did in the two games my rookie year," said Yao, who as a rookie was dominated by O'Neal. "It will be a big honor for me if Shaq saves it just for me."

The Rockets shot just 27.8 percent from 3-point range and missed eight of 22 free throws in falling to 6-7 after a 6-1 start.

"It's an execution problem we're having right now closing out games," McGrady said. "Whether it's defensive execution or offense ... we're just doing a bad job of executing."

Wade took control in the fourth. His three-point play with 2:26 left gave Miami a 93-87 advantage. Haslem's jumper with 1:12 remaining opened a 95-87 cushion the clinched it.

"They are taking the ball out of Tracy's hands, and we've got to make plays," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said.

The Heat used an 8-2 run at the end of the third quarter to build a 74-67 lead.

Miami held a 50-49 halftime lead. O'Neal led the way with 14 points and six rebounds. McGrady scored 15 points, and Scola added 12 points and five rebounds off the Houston bench.

O'Neal's eight points, three rebounds and two blocks in nine minutes helped Miami take a 26-24 lead after one quarter. The Heat led by 11 points midway through the period.

Game notes
Miami visits Orlando on Saturday night. It will be the first regular-season meeting between the Heat and former Miami coach Stan Van Gundy, who's in his first year with the Magic. ... Houston last lost six in a row March 12-21, 2006. ... The Heat shot 23-of-38 from the foul-line. ... The game marked Miami's 104th consecutive sellout, which tied the team record set March 3, 1989-Dec. 7, 1991.