Shaq fouls out but Heat tops Lakers by two in overtime

Sunday, December 26, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- The brick wall came tumbling down Saturday.

But that didn't stop the Miami Heat from beating the Los Angeles Lakers in Shaq vs. Kobe I.

With Shaquille O'Neal watching from the bench after fouling out late in the fourth quarter, Dwyane Wade and Eddie Jones scored four points each in overtime and the Heat beat the Lakers 104-102 to extend their winning streak to 11 games, equaling a franchise record.

The Heat survived despite a season-high 42 points by Kobe Bryant. But the Lakers' star was held scoreless in overtime, missing three shots including a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

O'Neal fouled out with 2:15 left in the fourth period after getting 24 points and 11 rebounds in his much-ballyhooed first game against the Lakers since being traded to the Heat last summer.

Bryant drew O'Neal's fifth foul with 4:04 to play.

When asked last Monday what would happen if Bryant drove the lane, O'Neal replied: "When you've got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what's going to happen."

The Corvette won, but the Lakers lost.

Wade, who had 29 points and 10 assists, scored with 2:06 remaining to give the Heat a 104-99 lead. The Lakers drew within two points when Lamar Odom made a 3-pointer with 1:11 to play.

But neither team scored after that.

"I was just doing the same things I always do," O'Neal said. "I was just coming out here getting ready to play, and I didn't want to get caught up in the nonsense."

O'Neal and Bryant acknowledged each other briefly before the opening tipoff.

"It was a general acknowledgment. You recognize your competitor and prepare for battle," Bryant said at halftime. "It was a little weird seeing him in a different uniform."

O'Neal and Bryant were teammates for eight chaotic seasons with the Lakers. Despite their obvious disdain for each other, nearly unbearable at times, the Lakers won three championships and reached the NBA Finals a fourth time during their last five years together.

O'Neal demanded a trade three days after the Lakers were beaten by the Detroit Pistons in the Finals last June. Phil Jackson was told the same day his services as coach were no longer desired.

Bryant, meanwhile signed a seven-year, $136.4 million contract to stay. With Jackson and O'Neal out of the picture, the Lakers immediately became Kobe's team.

Once the game began, there were few indications Bryant and O'Neal had a past, much less such an acrimonious one.

Jones, another former Lakers player, had 18 points and seven rebounds. Udonis Haslem had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Miami.

Odom scored all eight Los Angeles points in overtime and equaled a season high with 24 points. Odom, who came to the Lakers in the O'Neal trade, also had 11 rebounds.

Chucky Atkins had 12 points and seven assists, and Chris Mihm had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers.

With the game tied at 94, Wade missed two shots in the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime and drawing a grimace from O'Neal in front of the Miami bench.

A basket by Bryant and a 3-pointer by Atkins put the Lakers on top 71-63, matching the largest lead of the game. The Heat went on a 10-2 run to tie it before Bryant made two spectacular shots to finish the third quarter, putting Los Angeles ahead 77-73.

Bryant challenged O'Neal on the first two Los Angeles possessions. O'Neal blocked Bryant's shot the first time; Bryant made a pullup jumper the second.

Bryant made his first three 3-point shots, giving him 11 points and the Lakers a 17-9 lead less than 3 1/2 minutes in. Los Angeles was 5-of-5 from 3-point range at that stage.

O'Neal was relatively quiet until making two thunderous dunks, giving the Heat a 40-37 lead. The Lakers led 56-54 at halftime.

O'Neal was traded for Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant. Butler, a starter, didn't play against his former team, having been suspended for swinging at New Orleans guard Dan Dickau.

Notes: The Lakers have played at home on Christmas every year since Staples Center opened in 1999. ... The Heat haven't lost since Dec. 4, when they were beaten at Denver. They go for their 12th straight win Monday at home against Atlanta. ... Jumaine Jones started in place of Butler and scored nine points.

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