27 Aralık 2007

Mourning is a warrior to the end

Alonzo Mourning wasn't well liked in most NBA locales, certainly not here where his Nets' tenure was littered with empty promises due to health issues and constant complaining.

As unpopular as he was with the organization and fans, Mourning has played a significant role in Nets' history. His signing in 2003 helped keep Jason Kidd in New Jersey and his salary helped make the trade for Vince Carter work.

That said, Mourning always griping about Nets' management breaking up the team in the summer of 2004 soured what should have been a feel-good story. He returned from a kidney transplant and used every chance he could to say, "Get me out of here."

Four years to the day he had his transplant, Mourning, who declared this was his final season, suffered what in all likelihood was a career-ending knee injury in Atlanta. Some may say it was his karma, yet Dec. 19 was a sad day for basketball.

Mourning was a great center, one of the league's hardest workers, fiercest competitors and best defenders. He deserved a better sendoff, especially for all he did to come back from health problems – twice.

All along, we felt Mourning should have retired after Miami won the 2006 title. He would have left on top after defying the odds and inspiring others by not only playing but playing at such a high level that series and that season.

Instead Mourning stuck around and Dec. 19 happened.

Two things stand out about that night in Atlanta that summed up Mourning's career: He shattered his knee trying to block a shot and then refused to be wheeled off on a stretcher.

Four years to the day he underwent a kidney transplant, Mourning, with his teammates' help, hobbled off the court likely for the last time. He showed his warrior mentality to the very end.

In a bizarre way, maybe it was the right sendoff.

kaynak : NBA

Mailbag: Taylor, Mourning make us proud

I have been attending UM football games for 48 years. I have been attending Dolphins and Heat games since those teams' inceptions. All I have ever asked of my athletes and teams is that they play their hardest throughout the entire game.

Are there any two athletes, in all of sports, that exemplify this concept more so than Alonzo Mourning and Jason Taylor? These two men make me proud to be a sports fan and part of this community.

What was Taylor doing in the game [Sunday]? His injury makes it incredibly painful to walk, let alone play in a football game.

kaynak : NBA

Magic mourn Mourning's injury

The return to Miami of Stan Van Gundy as coach of the Orlando Magic this Friday night won't feel as special to him without Alonzo Mourning in a Heat uniform.

Mourning underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and a quadriceps tear in the same leg. The 37-year-old backup center to Shaquille O'Neal is likely done for the season, and he might well have played his last game in the NBA.

"I felt bad when I heard about it, and on a number of levels," Van Gundy said. "Number one, I've known him, so there's a personal thing there. But number two, I hate to see that happen to a guy who competes that hard every single night."

Mourning signed as a free agent with the Heat in March 2005, toward the end of Van Gundy's second season as their coach. Mourning had previously spent seven years with the Heat but missed almost all of the 2000-01 season because of a kidney disorder and needed to have a kidney transplant in December 2003.

"For what he'd already been through, to come back and get to one more year and have it go like that -- that, to me, is just very, very sad," Van Gundy said.

Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing preceded Mourning in college at Georgetown, and the two of them have kept in touch with each other over the years.

"I'm sure Patrick has talked to him," Van Gundy said. "I know he feels real bad. He's a good friend of his."

· ESPN has decided to pick up the

Magic's Jan. 25 game at Detroit, a move Van Gundy might look upon with mixed emotions.

During an ESPN telecast of a Utah-Phoenix game, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan wore a microphone and used a four-letter word after addressing his team at halftime. The word was not edited out of the telecast, which caused ESPN to issue an apology.

Van Gundy was outfitted with a microphone during the Magic's game at Charlotte on ESPN two weeks ago.

"I don't know that I can speak for everybody," he said. "But certainly most people, if you gave us a choice, we would rather not."

In light of the television contracts negotiated by the NBA, Van Gundy has a pragmatic approach toward the seeming intrusion upon his privacy.

"Do I like being miked? No," he said. "Do I want to work for half the money I'm making now? No. You have to be honest about it. If you want to get something, you've got to give up something."

· When Tracy McGrady was unable to play in the second half Wednesday night against his former team because of a sore knee, it meant no one from the 2004 blockbuster trade between the Magic and the Houston Rockets was on the floor for either team.

Steve Francis, who came over from Houston to Orlando but returned to the Rockets before this season, was on their inactive list. Tyronn Lue, Juwan Howard and Cuttino Mobley are now reserves with Atlanta, Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers, while Kelvin Cato and Reece Gaines are no longer in the league.

McGrady also missed the Rockets' double-overtime loss Thursday night at Denver, but had 20 points and eight assists Saturday night at Chicago. The Rockets will make their only visit to Orlando all season Jan. 4.

One on One: Brian Cook, Magic forward

Having spent the previous four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, what was it like having to play every year on Christmas?

It was cool, I'd have to say. It brought a lot of entertainment to people on that day. That's a day where people are with their families. Unfortunately, we weren't around our families as much, especially me. My family lives in Illinois. So we were either playing in Miami or out in L.A. But I can see why they have games on Christmas.

How did you pass the time in a hotel room on that day?

For me, a lot of phone calls to my family. I just try to take the day in as much as you can and know it's (about) the birth of Jesus Christ and just be thankful for another blessed year.

Are you still living out of a hotel here in Orlando?

No, I found a house in Winter Park. I've got it all settled. Right now, I'm renting some stuff from Rent-A-Center until my stuff gets here. And my family's going to come out. It's a short flight for them.

Do you still closely follow the fortunes of the Illinois basketball program?

I'm a diehard Illinois fan. That was my family for four years. And I still talk to a lot of the guys I played with. I played with James (Augustine) and Deron (Williams), Dee (Brown) and Luther Head. We're a close group. We work out in the summers. And I hold a basketball camp back there every summer, so I get to go back and be around the community and try to help the kids out.

What do you make of the turnaround of the Illini football program under Ron Zook?

In my first couple years, we went to a bowl game. We had Greg Lewis, Eugene Wilson, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Moorehead. We had a stacked team. By my junior and senior year, it was going downhill. But, Zook has the program on the rise. I'm going to have to go with my pride and say Illinois is going to beat USC (in the Rose Bowl). I know I have a lot of friends out in L.A. who are USC fans.

Isn't Keyon Dooling also a USC fan from his years of playing with the Clippers?

He's from Missouri, so he thinks (his school) got gypped. He probably is pulling for USC a little bit. You'll have to ask him about that.

kaynak : NBA

25 Aralık 2007

Dan Le Batard: More time for Zo to focus on charity now

O ne of the most poignant scenes in South Florida's sports history was buried underneath an avalanche of Bill Parcells news. Athletes rarely get to leave their way, so Alonzo Mourning's exit was both wrong and right.

On the road in a terrible basketball town, off the bench belonging to a last-place team, a giant crumbled to the floor, and his immediate prognosis didn't require doctors or X-rays. Udonis Haslem came over to help him up, and Mourning uttered a few sad syllables that sounded like punctuation.

''It's over,'' he told Haslem.

He would limp toward the exit, refusing to be wheeled out on a gurney. Miami's greatest warrior might walk off broken, but he would walk off. Left everything he had out there, per usual. It is fitting that his kidney and his knee would have to give out before his heart ever did.

Mourning always pushed his muscled body well beyond the limits of what was reasonable, but it is the cold truth of time and sports that the body eventually and always pushes back. That is not a fight the athlete ever wins, but Mourning fought it with more will and stamina than just about anyone who has ever graced this section of the newspaper.

A lot of tough-guy leaders speak eloquently about overcoming, demanding it of others only while searching for a back door the way Bobby Petrino and Nick Saban did. But Mourning always was the personification of what must be overcome sometimes to arrive atop something as cruel and cutthroat and competitive as sports. You will have a hard time finding anyone -- any time, any place, any sport -- who has overcome more.


It isn't just coming from a broken background. It is that he essentially was an orphan. It isn't just that his body betrayed him. It is that he had to become a champion on a borrowed kidney. An unhealthy body isn't supposed to look like his did at his age, but it was a monument to work, and you have to wonder how much more Shaquille O'Neal might have done if he desired the way Mourning always did.

Yes, he was given gifts. You don't will yourself to 6-10. But he always gave more than he received. And all he grew into was the most giving athlete South Florida has ever known, caring in more ways than one.

There are impoverished parts of Overtown, tucked around two basketball cathedrals built for the cruise magnate, that only Mourning seems to care about. He remembers what it was like to crave guidance and love as a lost child, so now his work with at-risk kids is overwhelming.

This isn't about handing out a few turkeys while the cameras are around. It is about using the platform and power sports gave him in a way Michael Jordan never did.


Mentoring programs. Foster care. Adoption. Emergency shelters. After-school programs. Mourning gives his money and time and name to them all. He brings celebrities and sponsors and wealth to the abused, neglected and abandoned. He asks his powerful friends for help, time and money so that he can rescue those who don't have any power at all.

At the end of his career, he turned himself into something of an artist, perfecting the timing and grace of the blocked shot. Younger and quicker and more athletic men made their way toward his basket only to have their desire rejected by someone who always had more. He couldn't play as many minutes because of that kidney, but he blocked more shots in those minutes than anyone in the league.


One snapshot for his entire Miami career? Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2006. Mourning dunked with menace over the Dallas Mavericks' DJ Mbenga to cap a 13-0 run that gave Miami its first lead, blocked five shots and even guarded Dirk Nowitzki. O'Neal wasn't the force in that game that Mourning was. After one Miami turnover, Mourning retreated to block yet another shot and spasmed on the floor in frustration at his teammates because he had been there for all the Game 7 heartbreak against New York and Detroit and didn't want anyone else throwing it away when he was finally this close.

That would have been Mourning's exit if life was fair and athletes were satiable.

Instead, we get a broken Mourning limping off the floor in a meaningless game in Atlanta.

It's over?

No, it's not over.

Mourning has more time than ever to give now.

And you get the feeling that his real good work is just beginning.

kaynak : NBA

Mourning Done

Mourning Done

--- Select a Category ---

Alonzo Mourning was the center of the Heat franchise throughout the 90s and showed a lot of heart and promise while playing for the team. Well, Alonzo Mourning’s latest knee injury may have cost him the rest of the season, and for that matter, his entire career. Mourning did not want to be wheeled out of the gym, and decided to go on his own showing his heart and his toughness.

During the off-season, he made a bold move by staying with the Heat to play for another season. Many thought he was too old to play and should have retired, but he stuck around anyway hoping the Heat would give him another championship ring. Well the Heat isn't really that good and Mourning is too old.

I admire his attitude though. It showed throughout his career that Alonzo was a hard worker and did things whether they were through the easy way or the hard way. It is really hard to see Mourning go out like this, but his legacy and his game speaks for itself. Alonzo Mourning #33 should and probably will officially retire.

kaynak : NBA

No pity please, as Mourning’s career ends

One of the fiercest men in sports, center didn’t even back down at the end

Image: Mourning
Jared Lazarus / Abaca
Alonzo Mourning played basketball with untammed heart, up until the end.

If there’s a defining characteristic to largely anonymous Atlanta Hawks guard Mario West, it’s that he’s not remotely enamored with the notion of giving up. When he was in college at Georgia Tech, West had to walk onto the team to keep his basketball career alive, and he essentially did the same thing in the NBA, earning a spot on the Hawks as an undrafted free agent.

A manifestation of that forge-onward attitude was on display Wednesday night against the Heat, when West got the ball on a first quarter fast break and drove towards the hole at full speed, taking off towards the rim with little regard for anything that might intersect with his path.

As it turns out, a similar instinct made Alonzo Mourning decide he had to challenge West’s shot — and stop an easy lay-up — at all costs.

kaynak : NBA

23 Aralık 2007

Mourning'den zorunlu veda

Mourning'den zorunlu veda
Miami Heat'in Atlanta Hawks ile oynadığı maçta sakatlanan Alonzo Mourning'in, ameliyat olduğu ve normal sezonun geri kalan maçlarında oynayamayağı açıklandı.

Miami Heat'in emektar oyuncusu Alonzo Mourning'in, normal sezonun geri kalan maçlarında forma giyemeyeceği açıklandı.

Atlanta Hawks maçında sakatlanan 37 yaşındaki pivotun, sağ dizinden ve tendonundan ameliyat olduğu belirtildi.

Daha önce yaptığı açıklamada basketbol kariyerini bu sezon sonu noktalayacağını belirten Mourning'in, tam olarak düzelmesinin 4 ayı bulacağı belirtiliyor. Play-off'larda oynama ihtimali bulunan Mourning, Miami'nin play-off'a kalamaması durumunda NBA kariyerine sakatlıkla veda etmiş olacak.

15 yıllık NBA kariyerinde 7 kez All-Star seçilen tecrübeli oyuncu, 2006'da Miami Heat ile şampiyonluk yaşamıştı. NBA'de 838 maça çıkan Mourning, 15 yıllık kariyerinde ise 17.1 sayı ve 8.5 ribaunt ortalamalarıyla oynuyordu.

kaynak : NBA

Miami Heat mourning centre Alonzo Mourning's injury

MIAMI Heat veteran centre Alonzo Mourning may have played his last NBA game.

MIAMI Heat veteran centre Alonzo Mourning

Miami Heat veteran centre Alonzo Mourning's career is in doubt after injuring his knee yesterday. Picture AP

Mourning, who suffered a torn knee tendon in Miami's loss to Atlanta on Thursday, is scheduled for surgery according to a Miami Herald website report.

The 6-8 month rehabilitation period would sideline him for the rest of the season, and the 37-year-old has said this would be his last NBA campaign.

"It's disappointing to think that my career may end this way," Mourning said. "But there are just so many other things that are important in life. I have my whole life to do other things."

Mourning was hurt in the first quarter when he ran down the court and placed himself under the basket to block a shot.

The 15-year veteran fell to the floor and clutched his knee, pounding the court in frustration.

Mourning, a seven-time All-Star, helped Miami to the 2006 NBA title.

Mourning almost saw his career end in 2003 when he was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. He received a transplant and returned for the 2004-05 season.

Mourning, taken at No. 2 in the 1992 NBA draft, has played 838 NBA games, averaging 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds.

Mourning faces difficult road

Alonzo Mourning had surgery Thursday to repair a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and a quadriceps tear in the same leg. The injury, which he suffered Wednesday night in the Heat's overtime loss at Atlanta, will almost certainly keep Mourning, 37, sidelined for the remainder of the season, which he has said is his last. Heat coach Pat Riley said Mourning would be in a hard cast for a month, then a soft cast for another month, followed by a period of rehabilitation that could last six more months.

*Oklahoma City made its first major move toward permanently attracting an NBA franchise Thursday when Mayor Mick Cornett called for the public to support a proposal to spend more than $100 million to overhaul the Ford Center and build a practice facility.

*Fourteen-year veteran Chris Webber is close to returning to the NBA, with the Pistons his likely destination, a source close to Webber told The Heat, Celtics and Lakers also have inquired about Webber's services. Webber averaged 11.3 points for Detroit last season.

kaynak : NBA

Mourning never took the easy way out

Everyone told Alonzo Mourning to walk away with the Miami Heat’s championship two seasons ago. What else was left? Perhaps the parade down Biscayne Boulevard would’ve been a perfect storybook ending for everyone else, but ’Zo’s journey had been so different, so dramatic, maybe it wasn’t perfect for him.

His life, his story, had never been neat and tidy this way.

So yes, the disturbing tearing of tendons and muscles on Wednesday night was a horrible scene. Mourning crumpled to the floor clutching his knee, his basketball season, his career, over. And then, there was ’Zo. They wanted to carry him off the court, but he bit his lip, climbed to his feet and declared that he’d be damned if they were going to wheel him out of the gymnasium. He threw his arms around his teammates, and Alonzo Mourning, the last tough guy, limped to the locker room.

In that final act of defiance, there was the essence of Mourning. Here was his life, his legacy. Four years to the day that his life was saved with a kidney transplant, that he started one of the remarkable comebacks in NBA history, Alonzo Mourning climbed to his feet one more time.

“This man has a spirit that can never flat-line,” Pat Riley said.

Once, Mourning was the nation’s most celebrated basketball prodigy, considered the best high school player while still a freshman in Chesapeake, Va. He was recruited to be Georgetown’s heir to Patrick Ewing, the second pick for Charlotte in 1992 and eventually traded to the Heat as the $100 million savior for Riley. For 15 seasons, Mourning played hard and played angry. Every day, he brought a frightening ferocity to the floor.

His coaches, Riley and John Thompson, were two of the great brainwashers in history. No one drank the Kool-Aid like ’Zo. No one gave it up like him. He wasn’t the most clutch playoff performer of his time, yet assuredly one of the most tortured until Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal helped him win that 2006 NBA championship.

Even after, Mourning became the rare active athlete to be truly confronted with his mortality. Four years ago, his kidney transplant changed everything. It humanized Mourning. It awakened him on every level. Those rippling muscles, that perpetual scowl, had been replaced with the frailty of a man at the mercy of the highest power and he has pushed forward with a Lance Armstrong-esque determination. That Mourning would simply get to live wouldn’t be enough for him, because he resolved to live his life his way, by resuming his championship chase.

Everywhere there were grown-ups and kids with transplants, with odds stacked, who turned to him for inspiration. So many climbed on those massive shoulders and let him elevate them. A seven-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, he had never been so important to the game until he made a most improbable return.

Still, everything changed with the transplant in 2003. His calling, his legacy, it’s all different now. He has such big plans, big ambitions. As the rest of his peers have long been pulled to Miami’s South Beach, Mourning felt drawn to the poverty, the plight of Miami’s Overtown. His foundation is considered one of the models for professional athletes, raising millions and millions of dollars for charities. It’s never been a front for him, a PR arm. ’Zo threw himself into his goodwill, the way he did his work.

Mourning wanted to believe the Heat had one more title run this season, but he was kidding himself. Riley, too. They’re 7-19, the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Come back again? To what? He knows that now.

In the end, though, he delivered one final lesson on the basketball court. All the way to that final defiant act, this was ’Zo. That knee got good and torn up the other night and yet beyond all that pain and anger and helplessness, he still figured out a way to direct that final scene. One more time, Alonzo Mourning got up.

The last tough guy has left the gymnasium.


1. For Jeff Nix, a 15-year coach, scout and executive with the New York Knicks, everything started innocently enough: He just wanted to extend his old friend, Jeff Bzdelik, a gesture of goodwill when he was hired as the Air Force Academy’s basketball coach.

From his home near South Bend, Ind., Nix bought a pair of season tickets and instructed Bzdelik, now Colorado’s coach, to donate them to some military kids whose parents were stationed at nearby Fort Carson. The kids, the families, loved it. Before long, Nix and a good friend, Ray Stults, a U.S. Army veteran, asked each other what felt like an obvious question.

Why can’t we make this bigger?

Why can’t we get more tickets for more military children near college campuses?

Now, three years later, they have created a remarkable program called Camouflage Kids. This allows kids with fathers or mothers overseas in military service to get tickets to a nearby college basketball game, get a T-shirt, concession-stand vouchers and sometimes even a chance to get a pep talk from coaches like Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Indiana’s Kelvin Sampson.

“For three or four hours, these kids have a chance to forget about some other difficult things going on in their lives,” Nix said. “It’s such a great thing for these kids to get on a college campus, get a pat on the back from a college coach or an athlete and just realize that they haven’t been forgotten.”

Several schools with military bases nearby have joined up, so Auburn, Butler, Notre Dame and Valparaiso are a part of it, too. Camouflage Kids has a fundraising barbecue near South Bend in June, when the public can come grill with Izzo, Sampson, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey and Marquette’s Tom Crean. Skip Prosser, a roommate of Nix’s when they were assistants at Xavier, played a part in the program until his death this summer.

This is a wonderful effort one that you can make even better with a donation. Check out

2. Unless you’re a Dallas Mavericks fan who’s been cobbling together your every last dime since Jim Spanarkel and Brad Davis were running roughshod in the expansion days, unless you have an ATM card in your wallet that reads “Cuban” on the side, you probably won’t be shopping this Christmas out of the shiny, fancy catalog the Mavs passed out this holiday season.

For a mere $320,000, a 2008 Mavericks Continental GT Bentley can belong to you. This rides includes “cast aluminum logo pedals” and platinum Mavericks emblems on the grill, trunk, wheels and intake manifold. Most of all, you can park in Cuban’s spot at the games. (Actually, you just get to park for free at the games.)

Orange County Choppers rigged up a $100,000 Mavericks model, but you’ve got to believe the owner kept one of those for himself. Can’t you just see Cuban on the television show, barking back and forth with the old man?

Anyway, there’s the life-sized 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki bobblehead for $20,000. It’s the actual model that Avery Johnson used against Golden State in the playoffs a season ago. Twenty-five grand gets you a round of golf with Jerry Stackhouse, and $5,000 less lets you become a Mavericks “Player for a Day.”

You get a one-day contract signed by Cuban, a visit to the morning shootaround and a courtside seat. After the game they’ll even let you hide in the shower for an hour, so the beat writers can miss deadline.

3. Throughout the league, there was a strong initial reaction out of rival executives about Detroit getting Charlotte to relieve them of the $20 million left on Nazr Mohammed’s contract.

Mostly, the reaction went like this: Wow.

No, this won’t be as significant as Detroit general manager Joe Dumars fleecing Michael Jordan and the Washington Wizards for Rip Hamilton in 2002, but the Charlotte part-owner’s willingness to trade the expiring contracts of Walter Herrmann and Primoz Brezec for the underachieving Mohammed was an immense break for the Pistons.

“I’ll say this, though,” one Eastern Conference scout said. “If I’m (Bobcats coach) Sam Vincent, the hell with the salary cap. I want that trade. He’s taking enough heat already and Mohammed gives him something in the middle.”

So far, so good. The way Mohammed has played in his first three games – including 20 points and 14 rebounds against the Knicks Friday night – has belied his negligible production with the Pistons. In the wake of Ben Wallace leaving for Chicago, Dumars signed Mohammed to a six-year, $30 million contract. This year, he was just a complete non-factor for Detroit.

Now, the Pistons shed some serious financial constraints, but understand this: This wasn’t a move to ease the return of free agent Chris Webber. Dumars and Pistons coach Flip Saunders aren’t inclined to bring Webber back for a second season, a league source familiar with the front office’s thinking said. “Very unlikely,” the source surmised.

4. Why wait on Atlanta coach Mike Woodson?

Extend him now.

Yes, there is still a long way to go on this season, but the Hawks’ 14-12 start is the franchise’s best since its last playoff berth in 1999. Most impressively, Atlanta’s victory over Washington on Friday night moved them into second place in the Southeast – just three games behind Orlando.

So much of Woodson’s future with the franchise rested with the development of his young nucleus and they’ve been magnificent this season. Joe Johnson is a star, and Josh Smith is coming fast. Few fill up a box score like him.

Yet, it’s been the leadership, the guts of journeyman Anthony Johnson that’s elevated the Hawks despite so many injures in their backcourt. For a franchise that’s refused to spend money, that’s done little to complement its young core with veterans, Woodson, in his fourth season, has done a terrific job. Lock him up.

5. When Kevin Garnett walked into his locker room hours before the loss to Detroit on Wednesday night and saw a TV camera hanging over the doorway, he shook his head and sighed about Big Brother watching the Celtics.

“I’m going to throw a towel over that thing,” he said, only half-kidding.

His coach, Doc Rivers, can live with getting miked for games now, but he’s understandably queasy about ESPN polluting the league’s locker room with its eye in the sky.

He thinks the locker room is a player’s haven and shouldn’t be violated. He thinks that things said could get out without them ever appearing on television.

“The third thing is coaches don’t want to look like they’re grandstanding,” Rivers said. “Let’s say if I want to go in and I want to give a Knute Rockne speech, and maybe it’s a good one. It’d be rare, but maybe it’s a good one. You have to think twice about how that’s going to look. If I’m a player, how am I going to look at that?”

A coach, grandstanding?

Come on, Doc.


When we left our D-League correspondent, Jeff Ruland, emperor of the Albuquerque T-Birds, a week ago, things weren’t going so well. He had been smacked in back-to-back games, been tossed out of one game for saying something about how the referee’s aunt would be his uncle if … something…

Well, the T-Birds were flying to Ontario and taking vans to Bakersfield and Ruland had never, ever heard of an airport in Ontario, Calif. That’s in Canada, right? Anyway, the good news was that he had a first-round draft pick riding with him.

The T-Birds have a partnership with the Phoenix Suns, so when Suns GM Steve Kerr wants minutes for his two rookies, Alando Tucker and D.J. Strawberry, he’ll send them one at a time down to Ruland.

So Tucker banged Bakersfield for 40 points – hitting for a 36-point average in two victories – and the T-Birds are back to .500 for Christmas. Now, Tucker has gone back to the Suns and Strawberry’s come down.

This has Rules’ thinking, of course. He’s always thinking about these things. Maybe Kerr will send him Shawn Marion this year?

“Just at the end to make a playoff run,” he pleaded.

kaynak : NBA

18 Aralık 2007

Mourning provides difference

Alonzo Mourning put it on himself to win Monday's game for the Heat, and it was a good thing.

The veteran center who best epitomizes the fervor and determination coach Pat Riley wants from his players came off the bench to finish with 10 points and 10 rebounds to help Miami defeat Minnesota, the worst team in the league, 91-87.

Mourning's play in the final 1:01 - he grabbed four rebounds, had a crucial tip-in and hit a free throw - set the standard for the type of effort Riley wants to see late in games.

"Zo had an incredible night," Riley said.

Mourning's performance came on a night when Riley's pre-game theme was making big plays late in games. It's something that's hurt the Heat (7-17) this season, and something that cost Miami late in Saturday's 106-103 loss to Indiana.

"That last game hurt a lot," Mourning said. "The last two games (losses to Indiana and Washington) at home kind of stung. But that last one hurt me personally because I felt I let the team down."

Mourning felt there was a key offensive rebound he allowed the Pacers to get. So he made sure it didn't happen again Monday by making the big plays late in the game. Mourning scored on a tip-in with 59.7 seconds left to put Miami ahead 88-85 and grabbed another rebound with 30.9 seconds left.

"I just wanted to get the ball," Mourning said of the plays.

Asked if everybody on the team shares that mentality, Mourning responded, "No comment."

The last-place Heat improved to 7-17 with the victory, ending a three-game home losing streak.

"The ball bounced our way tonight," swingman Ricky Davis said.

Dwyane Wade hit two free throws with 10.3 seconds left to put the Heat ahead 91-87. Wade missed 16 of his 22 shots from the floor, but he was 18-for-20 on free throws.

"I wasn't going to stop shooting," said Wade, who scored 30 points.

Fellow guard Jason Williams missed 7-of-9 shots. Shaquille O'Neal, who had four turnovers in just 12 first-half minutes, ended with 15 points and eight rebounds before fouling out for the second consecutive game. Forward Udonis Haslem (18 points, 16 rebounds) had a double-double for the third time in four games."

'Toine speaks: Forward Antoine Walker, traded to Minnesota in the multi-player deal that brought Davis, center Mark Blount and a first-round draft pick to the Heat, said he's not bitter about his two-plus seasons in Miami. But he didn't like Riley putting his business in the media.

During training camp, Riley told reporters Walker, a key contributor on the Heat's 2006 NBA title team, hadn't met his team-mandated body-fat limit and gave the figures. It was a strange admission because Riley rarely provides such numbers.

"I was a piece of the puzzle," Walker said, intimating he wasn't the problem. "The truth has to be told.

"It was better for me to leave," said Walker, who missed Monday's game with an ankle injury and illness. "I wasn't getting any positive press to stay."

Walker, averaging 10.4 points in a reserve role, didn't say he was a scapegoat in Miami but seemed to indicate that might have been the case.

"Obviously the way it started off I wasn't the problem," he said. "(They' re) in the same situation. Regardless of whether I'm here or not it's the same situation. It hasn't improved."

kaynak : NBA

16 Aralık 2007

Home struggles continue for Heat

An O'Neal snapped out of his production slump late in Saturday night's game at AmericanAirlines Arena. Unfortunately for the Heat, his first name wasn't Shaquille.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including six to start the go-ahead run en route to the Pacers' 106-103 victory.

The Heat had a chance to send it to overtime, but Dwyane Wade's three-point attempt from the corner with 1.8 seconds left rimmed out and extended Miami's struggles at home.

Whatever momentum the Heat (6-17) brought back after winning the final two games of its recent Western Conference trip was squandered by its second loss in as many games since the team returned.

The Heat has lost eight of 10 at home and has the second-worst overall record in the league, ahead of only Minnesota.

The Heat plays host to the Timberwolves on Monday in the first meeting between the reeling teams since their five-player trade just days before the season started.

''Not to try to give a philosophical bent, but you give everything you have and wonder why you feel such pain,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said after his team played well for three quarters and faded late again. ``We're not reacting well to adversity in the fourth quarter. When it gets tough, we've got to get tougher.''

The Pacers (12-12) trailed 79-78 entering the fourth, but opened the period with a 17-6 run to take control. They took their biggest lead on a pair of free throws from Jermaine O'Neal that made it 99-88 with 5:58 left in the game.

Jermaine O'Neal wouldn't be around for the finish. He went to the locker room with 2:14 left in the game after he banged his head for the second time in the quarter. He caught an elbow from Shaquille O'Neal early in the quarter on a drive to the basket. The second hit came after a collision as he drew a change against Wade and banged his head on the court.

The Heat closed to within 105-103 on Ricky Davis' three-pointer with 3.7 seconds left. But Jamaal Tinsley's free throw extended the lead to three just before Wade missed at the buzzer.

Tinsley scored 17 of his game-high 26 in the first half. Udonis Haslem scored a season-high 24 points and Wade also scored 24 for the Heat, which lost for only the second time this season after it carried a lead into the fourth quarter.

The Heat had plenty of chances in the fourth, but it kept getting outworked for rebounds. The Pacers outrebounded the Heat 42-38, but had a 13-9 edge on the offensive boards, including a critical snag while clinging to a 103-100 lead with 30 seconds left in the game.

''I told the guys that was on me tonight,'' center Alonzo Mourning said. ``The rebounds, those are the things that make the difference in the outcome of the game. That's been somewhat of our downfall. We just haven't been rebounding well at all.''

Despite the headache at the end, it was one of the better games for the season for Jermaine O'Neal, who entered Saturday averaging just 15.2 points a game this season, the lowest of his career as a starter.

Shaquille O'Neal continued his stretch of limited production. He fouled out with 12 points and three rebounds in 26 minutes. O'Neal was just 4 of 7 from the field, making it the ninth time in 10 games that he has attempted fewer than 10 shots.

The game came a day after Friday's emotional practice. Riley ended a quick film session with a lengthy team discussion about confidence and faith, and he drew an imaginary line through the room and challenged his players to choose a side. They could go right, get on track and salvage the season. Or they could go left, and continue down a frustrating path of inconstant play and losses.

The Heat carried the momentum from that motivational method into the first quarter. It made its first five shots, forced an open-court pace and led 18-8 after consecutive lob passes from Wade led to dunks by Haslem and Dorell Wright.

But as has been the case most of the season when the offense has flowed, the Heat didn't match that effort and execution on the other end. Despite shooting 70.6 percent from the field in the first quarter, the Heat carried only a 27-25 lead into the second.

The Heat couldn't keep the Pacers off the offensive glass and couldn't stop Tinsley from driving into the lane and scoring or creating open shots on the perimeter.

The Pacers outworked the Heat 10-0 on the offensive glass for an 8-0 edge in second-chance points in the first half.

''It's getting to be kind of repetitive-sounding,'' Haslem said. ``This was another situation where if we play the way we're capable of playing, we win. But we don't, so we didn't.''

kaynak : NBA

15 Aralık 2007

Miami Heat insist they can turn poor start to NBA season around

Pat Riley stressed the need for faith. Dwyane Wade talked about resolve. Alonzo Mourning reiterated his confidence.

Say this for the Miami Heat: Even at 6-16, they emerged from practice Friday still willing to believe. So far this year, the Heat have endured dissension, roster moves that didn't work as planned, injuries, frustration and a simple inability to close teams out in crucial moments.

Given all that, it's no wonder Miami is off to the worst start in the Eastern Conference. And if the fortunes are going to change, Mourning said, the Heat not only have to start playing like winners - but think like winners as well.

"Guys know what they've got to do. We just don't do it out there on the court," Mourning said. "We step out there and don't do it. Once you get to this level as an athlete, none of that is excusable. It's not. Yeah, you're going to have some bad games, but continually to have the lapses we have and the mistakes we're making, it all boils down to our mental approach."

Mourning postponed retirement last summer, largely because last year's 44-38 record and first-round playoff exit was too upsetting to have as the final chapter of his career.

If 44 wins was distressing, consider this: The Heat will have to go 38-22 from here to match that total.

But there's a reason why Riley ordered the word "faith" inscribed on Miami's championship rings from the 2006 season.

He believes in it, and these days, he might be relying on it more than ever.

"I'm fighting the fight every day," Riley said. "I fight the fight of faith. I'm not preachy here. That's what coaches do: You fight the good fight to keep the faith, that you know the locker-room is going to be OK, that the guys are going to come hard and play every night. I'm fighting the fight every day. I'm not losing it."

Riley put the team through practice and a film session Friday, as the sting of a 104-91 loss to Washington - Miami's seventh in nine home games this season - still resonated. But there's little time to dwell on that one, as Indiana visits the Heat on Saturday night.

By all accounts, the mood Friday was somewhat upbeat.

"When a team begins to lose, then everything's wrong," Riley said. "And it isn't wrong. We prepare. We work on it. We watch film. The losing creates the doubt. ... It's a very, very fine line. But when it comes to confidence, it really comes from individual mental preparation."

So, while waiting for mental changes, Riley will make some tactical tweaks.

Riley said he wants Wade more involved in the offence from the opening tap and suggested he may try to get the 2006 finals MVP a bit more rest in the early portions of games.

He strongly - and loudly - insisted that Jason Williams will remain the starting point guard, even after Chris Quinn's 22-point effort off the bench Thursday, and repeated that Shaquille O'Neal's scoring woes aren't entirely dictated by his touches.

O'Neal is averaging 10 shots a game; he entered the season getting nearly 18 a game over his career, and the centre's scoring average is, accordingly, a career-low 14.4 through the first 22 contests.

There's a ton of numbers that show how Miami is struggling.

Wade's take is that a few wins would quickly turn everything around.

"Everyone comes in and understands that we can do better," Wade said. "We see flashes of it. You see flashes of it and you get excited about it. But like coach said, it's a fine line right now. We can either take a step to the right and be a great team, or take a step to the left and be one of the worst teams in the league. Right now we've just got to get closer to that step to the right."

kaynak : NBA

14 Aralık 2007

Starting Lineups

Starting lineups:
PG: Chris Quinn
SG: Dwayne Wade
SF: Dorrell Wright
PF: Udonis Haslem
C: Shaquille O'Neal

PG: Antonio Daniels
SG: DeShawn Stevenson
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Antawn Jamison
C: Brendan Haywood

Tonight's lines:
Wizards at Heat: Heat by 5.5.
Over/Under on Big 2 scoring: 44.2 points.

Instead of a game preview, let's list the reasons why we hate Miami.

  • Shaquille O'Neal is a lazy bum who hasn't gotten the most out of his talent, fights with teammates, and has an obsession with being the man, yet gets away with it because he's such a goofy dude.

  • Dwayne...FOUL! Wa...FOUL! De...FOUL!

  • Ricky Davis has played nine seasons, and has never advanced past the first round of the playoffs.

  • Jason Williams is trying to be something he isn't. You can all fill in the blanks. (Actually, that's pretty harsh, but still, what is an endearing quality about Jason Williams?).

  • Alonzo Mourning is a frontrunner who screwed over the Raptors when they acquired him in the Vince Carter trade by refusing to report to them.

  • Udonis Haslem is just blah. So is Chris Quinn.

  • Their fans wear all white, and their PA guy rivals the "DEEEEETROIT BASKETBALL" dude as the most annoying one in the league.

  • Pat Riley...uhh...let's just say that even on the internet, there's a space limit here.
kaynak : NBA

12 Aralık 2007

Stepping on the gas, Heat manages

This is not the game Pat Riley wanted.

But it was a result the Heat coach relished.

After spending a morning team meeting cautioning his players against playing at Phoenix's pace, the Heat did just that in racing past the Suns 117-113 Monday night at the US Airways Center.

Concerned about his team being run off the court at the close of its 10 day, six-game trip, Riley offered a simple statistic to his players in advance of the game: 16-1.

That was Phoenix's record, entering the night, when scoring 100 or more.

"We had a math test," Riley said.

Then Riley's players crunched their own numbers, with a high-octane approach that added up to the team's first winning streak of the season.

While the overall ledger still shows the Heat with a 6-15 record after its 2-4 trip, the game was a revelation.

Apparently the Heat has enough offense to run with the best.

The problem was that it had been hidden at the end of the bench.

While guard Dwyane Wade led the way with 31 points, his third consecutive 30-point outing, it was the contribution of guard Chris Quinn and forward Dorell Wright that helped put the Heat over the top.

Back in the starting lineup, perhaps for good, Wright closed with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Forced into action by the sprained right ankle that has sidelined starting point guard Jason Williams, Quinn scored 12 on 5-of-7 shooting.

Factor in 18 points from center Shaquille O'Neal and 21 from power forward Udonis Haslem, and the Heat had enough to compete with the likes of Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, aided by Nash's 4-of-13 inaccuracy.

Riley coached in desperation mode, utilizing only seven players, with Ricky Davis and Alonzo Mourning the only reserves to see action.

His players responded with 48 minutes of intensity, closing with a 46-29 rebounding advantage.

That the Heat played at such an efficient offensive level for so long surprised even it coach.

"We can play occasionally at their pace," he said before the game. "We need to stop them, that's what we need to do."

The Heat stopped Nash — albeit with the guard closing with 14 assists — and that proved enough.

While he wasn't the focus of the attack, O'Neal shot 7 of 10, an oversized complement who was somewhat complimentary of the new equal-opportunity approach.

"It works pretty good, I hope," he said. "So we'll see in the next 20 games. The first 20 we were 5-15. That's terrible. We'll see."

The challenge now is to make more of an impact during a home run that includes five of the next six at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"We've got to find out exactly where are as a team, get back into this thing," Riley said.

The NBA corrected a scoring error from Sunday's victory against the Clippers, when two free throws converted by Mourning erroneously were credited to Wade.

The scoring transcript released after Sunday's game had Wade converting two free throws with 8:56 to play in the fourth quarter, but Wade was not in the game at the time.

The mistake is easily explained, with Mourning wearing No. 33 and Wade No. 3.

The revised box score reflects Wade with 33 points, instead of the 35 first recorded. Mourning, who questioned the box score as soon as he glanced at it in the Staples Center locker room, is now credited with eight points instead of six.

kaynak : NBA

Wright Starts Again

The bench was starting to get to him. Heat forward Dorell Wright was confident he'd get another shot at the starting job. He just didn't know where, when or how.

Opportunity knocked again during the Heat's six-game Western Conference trip. Wright, who turned 22 last Sunday, made his fourth consecutive start Monday night against the Suns.

This time, he insists he won't let the job slip away. Wright started the season's first four games but struggled and was replaced by Ricky Davis. Penny Hardaway then took over until Wright reemerged last Thursday.

Coach Pat Riley eventually reached a compromise by starting Wright for defensive purposes and going with Davis as the second-half starter.

''Sitting is the worst feeling in the world. I know why it happened. I had my role confused a little bit. Coach did a good job of making me hungry again,'' Wright said Monday.

Wright has averaged 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in three starts leading into Monday. Riley said he has seen improvement in Wright's maturity -- current Mohawk haircut not withstanding.


Reserve center Alonzo Mourning actually accomplished more than he initially was given credit for in Sunday's 100-94 win against the Clippers.

The NBA on Monday corrected the game's box score and awarded two points to Mourning that were incorrectly credited to Dwyane Wade. The discrepancy stems from two free throws Mourning made in the second half. Wade finished with 33 points instead of 35, and Mourning had eight.


Riley said Monday he has received daily reports on Smush Parker's workouts in Miami and that a decision would be made on the guard's future when the team returns from the trip. Parker has not been with the team since his Nov. 27 altercation with a Miami valet parking attendant.

kaynak : NBA

11 Aralık 2007

NBA | Miami Heat 117-113 Phoenix Suns

Maçı baştan sona önde götüren Heat takım oyunuyla Suns'tan galibiyet koparmayı başardı.

Heat adına Wade 31 sayı 6 asistle en etkili isim olurken ona 21 sayı 12 ribaunt ile Haslem,18 sayı ile Shaq ve 16 sayı 12 ribauntla Dorell Wright destek olan isimlerdi.

Sunsta ise Amare,Marion,Hill ve Bell dörtlüsü 19ar sayı bulurken Nash sadece 11 sayı atarken 14 te asist yaptı.

kaynak : NBA

Wright, Quinn fill needs

PHOENIX — If things work the way coach Pat Riley would like, Dorell Wright and Chris Quinn would fill huge gaps at small forward and point guard for the Heat, positions that have dogged the team since training camp.

On short notice both youngsters have come through with solid performances that have temporarily solved the two biggest lineup issues on the team.

No one knows how long Wright and Quinn will continue to start at their respective positions, but it's working for now.

"He and Dorell have played well," Riley said.

Wright starts the game at small forward, and Ricky Davis starts the second half at small forward. Both Wright and Davis said their roles would take some adjustment.

"It's good," Davis said. "When I'm there at the end of the battle and the game's on the line is when I want to be in the game."

Quinn, who entered Monday's game at Phoenix with a 2-1 record as a starter, got his starting job against the Clippers and Suns because Jason Williams sustained a sprained right ankle and didn't play the second half of Friday's game at Golden State.

Williams could be back for Thursday's home game against Washington, but Quinn could solidify his spot as backup point guard, ahead of Smush Parker, who didn't make the trip because of an incident last month with a parking valet in Miami.

Wade's loss, Zo's gain: Center Alonzo Mourning was credited with two more points and guard Dwyane Wade had two taken away from Sunday's 100-94 victory over the Clippers because the official scorer gave Wade two free throws that Mourning made.

That means Wade tied his season best with 33 points instead of establishing a season best with 35.

Mourning ends up with eight.

Roster issues: When Miami returns home it will have two personnel matters to handle regarding Parker and forward Luke Jackson, who is coming in for a workout.

Riley said last week the team would decide what to do about Parker when it gets back home although he didn't set a timetable for dealing with the matter.

Jackson, Cleveland's first-round pick in the 2004 draft, could be signed. If so, Miami would be required to make a roster move to clear a spot.

Forward Penny Hardaway knows he could be a candidate to be released.

"I've given it my all," said Hardaway, who missed the past two seasons with knee problems. "I went to training camp and I haven't missed a regular-season game. I haven't had any ailments or anything, just minor stuff so I'm definitely thankful and I hope if this situation doesn't work out I'll go somewhere else."

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

kaynak : NBA

Scoring error corrected; two Wade points shifted to Mourning

PHOENIX - Upon review, Dwyane Wade did not record a season high in points Sunday against the Clippers; he merely tied it.

The NBA on Monday confirmed a scoring error during the fourth quarter of the Heat's 100-94 victory at Staples Center.

The scoring transcript released after Sunday's game had Wade converting two free throws with 8:56 to play in the fourth quarter.

Wade, however, was not in the game at the time, with those two foul shots actually taken by center Alonzo Mourning.

The mistake is easily explained, with Mourning wearing No. 33 and Wade wearing No. 3.

The revised box score will reflect Wade with 33 points, instead of the 35 initially recorded. Wade established a season high with 33 points in Friday's loss at Golden State.

Mourning, who questioned the box score as soon as he glanced at it in the Staples Center locker room, is now credited with eight points, instead of the initial six.

Mourning therefore closed 2 of 3 from the foul line, with Wade's free-throw numbers now reduced to 7 of 8. All league statistics will be updated to reflect the change.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the scoring change.

By Ira Winderman |

kaynak : NBA

8 Aralık 2007

Defensive Breakdowns Frustrate Riley

Shaq Hücumlardan Şikayetçi

Miami Heat’in yıldız pivotu Shaquille O’Neal’ın hücumda kendine az top gelmesi nedeniyle mutsuz olduğu gelen haberler arasında.

Son 15 maçta 10’un altında top kullanan Shaquille O’Neal’ın, konuyu Pat Riley ve takım arkadaşları ile konuştuğu da belirtildi. İsteksiz olduğu gerekçesi ile zaman zaman antrenör Pat Riley tarafından da eleştirilen Shaquille O’Neal, son olarak Boston Celtics ile oynanan ve 95-85 kaybedilen maçta 6/7 isabet ile oynamıştı. Shaq mücadeleyi de 13 sayı, 11 ribaund ile tamamlamıştı.

Bu sezon 15 maçta forma giyen Shaquille O’Neal 16.3 sayı ortalaması ile kariyerinin en düşük rakamında kalırken, 7.7 ribaund, 1.1 asist ve 2 blok istatistiklerini yakaladı.

Protecting the inside always has been one of the bedrock defensive principles for Heat coach Pat Riley.

It still is, but the Heat's perimeter defense has been so porous that Riley said he's increasingly relying on "gimmicks and schemes" to "protect and hide people."

There was no hiding it for the Heat on Sunday night at Denver. The Nuggets danced into the lane from the start of their 115-89 victory and never stopped.

"You just can't allow it to come at you that easy," Riley said before the Heat played at Utah on Monday night.

The Nuggets had 56 points in the paint, and it wasn't because of a strong post game. Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Carter had easy passage into the paint for scores or passes for unchallenged dunks and layups.

Riley tried to slow the Nuggets with an assortment of tricked-up defenses, but Denver just kept scoring.

"We are starting to go to situations that I am not comfortable with," Riley said afterward. "Now all of a sudden your defensive principles and playing hard [suffer] because everyone is expecting all this help.

"We have just got to get back to the basic fundamentals of what our defense was when we won the championship and stop all the scheming and other stuff."

Center Alonzo Mourning, still covering for teammates by trying to block everything, appeared frustrated at times by the steady wave of players coming at him.

"The only thing I am frustrated about is looking down our roster and then looking at our record because I know we are better than that," Mourning said Monday.

Riley flew from Denver to Louisville, Ky., after Sunday's game to attend the funeral of college teammate Tommy Kron, who died of cancer last week at age 63. Riley arrived back at EnergySolutions Arena about 90 minutes before tipoff.

"Tommy Kron was a dear friend of mine," Riley said. "I went back to respect his family and his memory. It was sudden, but I am ready to go."

Riley and Kron played at the University of Kentucky on the 1965-66 team, nicknamed "Rupp's Runts" after coach Adolph Rupp. The all-white Kentucky team lost to Texas Western's all-black starters in NCAA championship game, an event depicted in the 2006 film Glory Road.

Guard Dwyane Wade dunked in the first quarter against the Jazz, his first since returning from knee and shoulder injuries on Nov. 14. Wade has said dunking would be a sign he's regaining strength in his left knee, and he had a total of three in the opening period. ...

Guard Jason Williams returned to the starting lineup against the Jazz after leaving Sunday's Nuggets game with a right foot injury.

kaynak : NBA

Heat keeps It Close

Shaq İsyan Etti

Miami Heat'in Süper Starı Shaquille O'Neal isyan etti. Sezona kötü başlayan takımlardan olan Heat'de Shaq'da eleştirilerden bıktı.

Özellikle Pat Riley'nin her fırsatta yerden yere vurduğu oyuncular arasında olan Shaq kendisini eleştirenlere ve yaşlı diyenlere sert çıktı.

Shaq yaptığı açıklamada doğru zamanda doğru bir şekilde topla buluşamadığını söylerken; Kendisinin şutları kötü kullanmadığını düşündüğünü söyledi ve takımın kendisini devreye sokmak için daha farklı yollar bulması gerektiğini belirti...

From Dwyane Wade's weak left knee, to Jason Williams' sore right foot, to the aging bodies of Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning, the Heat hardly seems equipped to keep pace with the high-scoring Jazz.

But all of those veterans appeared rejuvenated at the same time. Wade and Williams slashed, O'Neal and Mourning bashed, and the Heat stayed with the Jazz for more than three quarters before Utah pulled away to a 110-101 victory.

The loss dropped the Heat to 4-13 but, after a lethargic effort in a blowout loss to Denver, the Heat was spirited against the Jazz. The Heat fell behind by 20 at Denver and never recovered but kept going at Utah until succumbing in the final four minutes.

Utah led just 94-92 when center Mehmet Okur keyed an 11-4 run. The Heat couldn't finish but, after the embarrassment at Denver, at least it got started.

Wade had 26 points and 10 assists, O'Neal was effective in the post with 12 points and Williams, back in the lineup after leaving Sunday's game with a right foot injury, scored 15.

The Heat also got quality minutes from reserves Mourning, Ricky Davis and rookie Daequan Cook. Mourning had 13 points, Davis 15 and Cook, playing a large role in the fourth quarter, finished with 11.

It took all of that for the Heat, the league's second-worst offensive team coming in, to stay with the No. 3 scoring offense. Carlos Boozer (24 points, 15 rebounds) and Okur (25 points) excelled after one-game injury absences and point guard Deron Williams dominated with 24 points and 15 assists.

After the Heat took a 53-52 halftime lead, Utah looked like it would take control in the third quarter.

The Heat suffered through poor free throw shooting and an offensive drought as the Jazz reeled off a 13-0 run for a 74-63 lead, its largest of the game. But the Heat responded with an 8-0 run to get within 74-71 entering the fourth.

The Heat showed some positive signs in the loss, none more encouraging than Wade's play.

Wade hadn't dunked since returning from knee and shoulder injuries on Nov. 14. Each time he was asked about his health, Wade said dunking would signal he's regaining strength in his left knee and, thus, his attacking style.

So it was a big lift for the Heat when Wade looked more like his penetrating, playmaking and finishing self on Monday. He had five straight baskets in the first period, including three dunks, for 10 of the Heat's 32 points in the quarter.

kaynak : NBA

Heat Issues Boiling Over

Riley Ateş Püskürdü

2007-08 NBA sezonuna 4 galibiyet 13 yenilgi ile başlayan Miami Heat'de koç Pat Riley demeçlerini sertleştirmeye başladı. South Florida Sun Sentinel'a konuşan Miami Heat coachu "Takım leş kokuyor" dedi.

Haberde Miami Heat koçu Pat Riley'ın takımı motive etmek için sert açıklamayı yaptığı belirtildi. Pat Riley sert tavrı ile Miami Heat'i daha iyi bir galibiyet seviyesine yükseltmeyi planlıyor.

NBA tarihinin en iyi 10 koçundan birisi olan Pat Riley, NBA'de kendilerinden kötü galibiyet oranına sahip 2 takımın bulunduğunu açıkladı. Pat Riley takımın liderleri Shaquille O'Neal ve Dwyane Wade'in takımı harekete geçirmek için kendi oyunlarına seviye atlatmaları gerektiğini açıkladı.

Wednesday's venting by coach Pat Riley merely was the public side of simmering tension amid the Heat's season-opening struggles.

Privately, Riley has found himself having to deal with everything from a practice-court spat with center Shaquille O'Neal to questions in his locker room about his preparation methods.

Last week, before the Heat began this six-game western swing that included Thursday's late game against the Trail Blazers, Riley got into a spat with O'Neal and attempted to banish the center from practice.

Only when backup center Alonzo Mourning intervened was the tension defused.

"I don't discuss those things, but those things happen," Riley said. "We don't like losing. The franchise doesn't like losing. We get mad when we lose. And he does, I do, we all do.

"We don't take it well, so some things happen occasionally."

Offered the opportunity to clarify the friction that led him to defy Riley, O'Neal pleaded ignorance.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," he said in a Rose Garden corridor.

He then turned to teammate Mark Blount, smiled, and asked, "You remember that, Mark?"

Blount grinned back, "Nah, I don't remember anything."

While limited, such moments previously have transpired behind closed doors between Riley and O'Neal during their four seasons together.

"That's nothing that's abnormal," Riley said of such feistiness. "Not with me it isn't."

Mourning, who has been most vocal about the team's struggles, said such a display is the residue of losing.

"People don't like to lose, especially the guys that I'm around," he said. "And if you start losing, then obviously some unwanted feelings come out."

Such feelings began to emerge even before the Riley-O'Neal confrontation.

Several players privately questioned Riley putting his team through a rigorous game-day workout before what turned into a 91-76 blowout loss Nov. 13 at Charlotte, a defeat followed the next night by a home loss to Seattle in Dwyane Wade's season debut.

Riley said those complaints didn't even justify being addressed.

"That's just a typical players' response to losing," he said. "We had a great practice in Charlotte. The last thing that players should want to do is say that they're working too hard as an excuse. That's a real cop-out."

Riley, in fact, said he has been mindful of not overworking his team during such a mentally draining time.

"They're not even working now," he said. "They're hardly even working."

Mourning said off-court differences cannot get in the way of what stands as a major reclamation project in the standings.

"Regardless of what happens in a situation away from the court, in that 94-by-50 [court] is where you've got to find some kind of resolve," he said. "I don't care what we do outside the court. You can argue, scream, but when you get inside of 94-by-50 [court], you've got to get it done."

Riley had his moments with Mourning, Tim Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn during the best of Heat times in the late '90s.

The difference, then, Mourning said, was the players chose to make everything but victory inconsequential.

"I'm not pointing the finger at guys and saying they don't care," Mourning said. "But if you care enough about it, you'll do something about it. You'll step your play up, you'll start working a little harder, and when a game gets close, you'll get a little more focused and you'll get a little more determined."

Blazers guard and Hollywood native Steve Blake confirmed he was interested in signing with the Heat last summer, but said he never was offered a contract. "They were more pursuing Mo Williams at the time and waiting for his decision," he said. "I couldn't wait for someone else to make a decision." ...

Guard Daequan Cook spent Tuesday and Wednesday at the Portland home of former Ohio State teammate Greg Oden, who said he is not surprised Cook has had an instant NBA impact. "Every since I've known him, he's the most confident guy ever," Oden said. "He's an offensive genius." ...

Forward Ricky Davis bypassed the offer from TNT to wear a wireless microphone during Thursday night's telecast. "I decided to wait until we win a few games before something like that," he said.

By Ira Winderman | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

kaynak : NBA