Originally created 01/20/05

Shaq helps Heat down Hawks



MIAMI - Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 points, helping the Miami Heat improve the Eastern Conference's best record to 29-11 with an 111-92 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

Wade, who missed Miami's previous two games with a back spasms, sore ribs and a migraine, scored 12 of his points in the third quarter to help the Heat pull away. O'Neal added 12 rebounds, and Eddie Jones scored 16 for Miami, which played its first home game in two weeks.

Antoine Walker had his ninth straight double-double - 18 points and a game-high 16 rebounds - for Atlanta, which dropped its seventh straight road game and lost for the 14th time in 17 games overall. Jason Collier added 17 points.

Miami, the NBA's best shooting team, connected on 51.9 percent of its field-goal attempts. O'Neal made 11 of 20 shots and scored 25 or more points for the eighth straight game, extending his team record. Over that stretch, O'Neal is averaging 29.8 points and 12.3 rebounds.

Al Harrington's driving layup with 5:38 left in the third quarter drew Atlanta to 66-63, but Wade - who typically doesn't show much anger on the court - got visibly upset over a non-call on Miami's next possession, and quickly vented his frustration.

He drove straight at Hawks rookie Josh Smith for a layup, then took a long outlet pass from O'Neal after Smith's miss and drove past him for a dunk, sparking what would become a 23-7 Miami run.

Later in the quarter, Wade converted a three-point play, pushing the lead to 80-68. Keyon Dooling made three free throws in the final 41 seconds of the third, then opened the fourth with a three-point play, and a 3-pointer by Eddie Jones closed the burst and gave Miami an 89-70 lead.

O'Neal had 19 of his points in the first half, helping Miami take a 54-49 lead at intermission - marking just the 16th time in 40 games that the Heat led entering the third quarter.

Smith was 4-for-4 in the game's first 7:34, helping Atlanta - which dropped to 7-29, the East's worst record - hang around for the first half. The Hawks shot 47.4 percent in the opening two quarters, but connected on just 39.1 percent of their tries after halftime.

Dooling finished with 12 points for Miami. Harrington and Smith each had 13 for Atlanta, with Predrag Drobnjak scoring 11.

Notes: O'Neal now has 9,019 career field goals, and moved past Jerry West into 14th on the NBA's all-time list. West had 9,016; next on the list is Moses Malone (9,435).... Atlanta fell to 0-3 against the Heat this season.... Eddie Jones' 3-pointer midway through the second quarter was the 1,227th of his career, moving him past Hersey Hawkins and into 14th place on the all-time list. Dell Curry (1,245) is 13th.... Before the game, Atlanta activated G Tony Delk and placed G Royal Ivey (right knee tendinitis) on the injured list. Delk wore a brace on his sprained left hand and finished with three points in eight minutes.... Miami is 9-0 in divisional games, 21-2 against Eastern Conference teams, 22-2 when scoring 100 and 7-0 on Wednesdays.



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