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