NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Heat burn the Bobcats for 14th straight victory


Published: Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 1:31 a.m.
MIAMI - Dwyane Wade used an array of dunks and a spectacular blind over-the-shoulder flip to score 26 points and lead the Miami Heat to their 14th straight win, 113-90 Saturday night over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Wade made 11 of 16 shots and added nine assists for the Heat, who have the NBA's longest winning streak this season. Miami turned the game into a blowout with a 27-12 third-quarter burst.
Shaquille O'Neal added 16 points for Miami (25-7), which had all five starters score in double figures and moved 6 games ahead of Cleveland for the Eastern Conference's best record.
The Heat shot a season-high 59.2 percent from the floor and made it look easy - no one more so than Wade.
With 3:53 left in the third quarter, he dribbled past Charlotte's Kareem Rush and drove down the left side of the lane. Brevin Knight stepped in front, and wrapped both arms around Wade - who turned his back from the basket, tossed the ball over his shoulder and looked back to watch it fall through the hoop.
Emeka Okafor had his 19th straight double-double - 17 points and 10 rebounds - for Charlotte, which also got 14 points from Jason Hart. The Bobcats' starters were outscored 78-41 by Miami's opening lineup.
The Heat's winning streak is the NBA's longest since New Jersey won 14 straight last season. The last team to win more consecutively was O'Neal's Los Angeles Lakers, who had a 19-game run during the 1999-2000 season on the way to a championship.
Foul trouble sent O'Neal to the bench twice in the first half - but Miami pulled away on both occasions.
O'Neal picked up his second foul with 3:33 left in the first and Miami trailing 18-15, but the Heat closed the quarter with a 13-2 run to build an eight-point lead. Outside of a 2-for-7 first-half showing from the foul line, Wade added plenty of entries to his burgeoning highlight reel. He had three dunks in the second quarter, the first coming on a two-handed slam after he dribbled uncontested down the lane for a 33-26 lead.
On Miami's next trip, he took a perfect back-door bounce pass from Christian Laettner for another dunk. And with 1:28 left in the half, Laettner found the cutting Wade again for a slam that put Miami up 50-39. Charlotte was within 63-56 after consecutive baskets by Gerald Wallace early in the third, but another dunk by Wade - this time a reverse dunk after a three-quarter court pass from Damon Jones - capped an 11-1 run in a 1:19 stretch that swelled Miami's lead to 74-57.
Rush had 10 points, and Knight finished with seven assists for Charlotte, which lost its fifth straight.
  • NETS 93, KNICKS 87: Jason Kidd had the pass of the night, an off-the-backboard, alley-oop feed that Vince Carter dunked, and New Jersey defeated New York and its self-proclaimed ''best point guard in the NBA.'
    Kidd didn't outplay point guard counterpart Stephon Marbury, who made that bold declaration the previous day at practice.
    Marbury had 31 points, eight assists and four rebounds to Kidd's 12 points, three assists and four rebounds, but the Nets led throughout the final three quarters and did what they usually do against their cross-river rivals, beating the Knicks for the 17th time in 20 meetings.
    Carter, who assumed the playmaking duties for a large part of the fourth quarter, had 16 points, five assists and six rebounds, while Richard Jefferson had 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.
    Nazr Mohammed added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
    Marbury's statement was the talk of Madison Square Garden prior to tipoff.
    ''Don't get me wrong, I love Jason Kidd, he is a great point guard,'' Marbury said. ''But how am I comparing myself to him when I think I'm the best point guard to play basketball? That makes no sense. I can't compare myself to somebody when I already think I'm the best.
    ''I'm telling you what it is. I know I'm the best point guard in the NBA,'' Marbury said.
    Kidd spoke briefly with reporters before tipoff, joking that he would be just the third-best point guard in the building, behind Marbury and Kidd's son, 6-year-old T.J.
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