Heat wins Shaq's debut

Thursday, November 4, 2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Shaquille O'Neal caught the ball deep in the low post, used his oversized posterior to bump Alonzo Mourning out of the way, then dropped in a layup with no one else around.

Miami's new center had his way against a familiar face from the Heat's recent past, shooting 7-for-9 from the field and scoring 16 points in a 100-77 victory Wednesday night over the New Jersey Nets.

It was anything but a dominant debut in black for O'Neal, who was acquired over the summer from the Los Angeles Lakers for three starters and a first-round draft pick.

But he certainly had his moments despite playing on a sore left hamstring, the best of them coming in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter against the player drafted one spot behind him in 1992.

Not long after scoring to give the Heat an 83-60 lead, O'Neal left for the night.

Mourning's effort was an accomplishment simply because the former Miami center was able to play less than a year after undergoing a kidney transplant.

Mourning finished with seven points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.

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