Heat take 2-1 series lead with road win

Saturday, May 13, 2006

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Finally, a close one in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and Dwayne Wade gets knocked out of the game.

Fortunately for the Miami Heat, he bounced back as usual -- then helped them win it.

Wade scored 30 points, half in the final 4 1/2 minutes, and added 10 assists and seven rebounds to lead the Miami Heat over the New Jersey Nets 103-92 on Friday night in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series.

Knocked out of the game briefly by an inadvertent elbow during a stretch when New Jersey was threatening to take control, Wade helped the Heat come back to win the first competitive game in the series and take a 2-1 lead.

Shaquille O'Neal added 19 points and nine rebounds, and Antoine Walker scored 16 points for the Heat.

Game 4 of the series is Sunday in New Jersey.

Vince Carter scored 43 points, but had a few costly turnovers in the fourth quarter that helped the Heat finally shake the Nets. Richard Jefferson added 17 points -- none in the final period. Jason Kidd was also scoreless in the fourth, finishing with 10 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.

New Jersey was without key reserve Clifford Robinson, who was suspended five games by the NBA earlier Friday for violating the anti-drug policy. The news came as a tough surprise to the Nets, who learned of the penalty at around noon -- after Robinson had already taken part in the morning shootaround.

The teams traded easy victories in Miami, but this one was close throughout. Neither team led by more than nine points until the final minute.

Carter gave New Jersey its last lead at 81-80 with just over 4 1/2 minutes left, but Wade answered with a three-point play to put Miami ahead for good at with 4:22 to play. Gary Payton followed with a steal and layup before Wade made four straight free throws to give the Heat an 89-81 lead with 3:13 remaining.

New Jersey couldn't get closer than six points again. Wade was 6-of-6 from the line and added another basket in the final minute.

The Heat led 56-49 early in the third quarter after O'Neal's alley-oop dunk, but Nenad Krstic made a basket and Carter scored four straight points to bring the Nets within one.

Carter was trying to drive around Wade on the next possession when his elbow caught Wade in the face. Wade remained down with his hand covering his face while play continued on both ends of the floor, and he was taken to the locker room after Krstic's basket gave New Jersey a 57-56 lead.

After Wade left the floor, Jason Collins made two free throws, then Carter nailed a jumper and a 3-pointer to cap the 15-0 burst -- with nine points coming after Wade was elbowed -- and give the Nets a 64-56 lead with 5:52 remaining in the period.

Wade returned seconds later and helped the Heat fight back to tie it at 72 heading into the final quarter after Payton's layup with 30 seconds to go.

The game was tied after the first quarter, a welcome change after the first two games were basically over after 12 minutes. The Nets led 38-21 after one in their series-opening victory, and the Heat were ahead 41-19 in Game 2.

On Friday, Carter and Jefferson combined to hit nine of their first 10 shots and both scored 10 points in the first quarter, which ended in a 27-all tie.

O'Neal was limited to just four minutes in the second quarter after picking up his third foul, but Miami was still able to push its lead to 54-45 late in the period on Walker's 3-pointer with 1:20 left. Carter closed the first-half scoring with consecutive dunks -- the first a powerful slam over Alonzo Mourning -- to bring the Nets within 54-49 at the break.

Notes: Walker was called for a technical foul after he seemed to stay too long near the Nets bench talking to coach Lawrence Frank after he fouled Jefferson.. ... Mourning was loudly booed when he entered the game late in the first quarter. He played 30 games over parts of two seasons with the Nets and was vocal in his unhappiness with the direction of the team before he was shipped to Toronto in the deal for Carter.in December 2004. ... Patriots QB Tom Brady attended the game and was also booed when he was shown on the overhead scoreboard.

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