Saturday, May 1, 2004

Miami manages a win to take series lead

The Associated Press

MIAMI - The Miami Heat started poorly, battled foul trouble, argued with the refs all night, failed to contain Baron Davis and still won.

Credit home-court advantage.

Dwyane Wade's 3-pointer with 54 seconds left put the Heat ahead to stay, and they delighted 20,000 boisterous, black-clad fans by beating the Hornets 87-83 Friday for a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series.

The home team has won all five games, and the Heat have won 15 consecutive games in Miami. They can close the series with a victory Sunday in New Orleans, but they're 13-30 on the road this season.

If the Hornets win, Game 7 will be Tuesday in Miami.

The Hornets fell to 0-5 in Miami this season, including a 30-point loss on their most recent visit. This one stung even more.

New Orleans led by 11 points in the first half, was up 58-49 midway through the third quarter and squandered a 33-point performance by Davis.

Wade and Eddie Jones sparked the comeback by the Heat, and they led 75-73 with four minutes left. The Hornets then missed three consecutive shots but rebounded each one before Davis hit a 3-pointer to again put his team ahead.

The Heat tied it twice, then got the ball back with less than 90 seconds left when Davis missed a 3-pointer. Lamar Odom passed in the corner to an open Wade, whose 3-pointer went swish as the 24-second clock expired.

Following a timeout, Darrell Armstrong missed two long jumpers - the first of which was blocked by Caron Butler. Butler made three free throws and Jones added another with 14 seconds left to clinch the victory.

Jones scored 25 points and Wade had 21 for the Heat.

For the Hornets it was all Davis. The All-Star guard finished 11-for-18 from the field, made three 3-pointers and had seven assists.

NEW ORLEANS (83)-Lynch 1-9 3-4 5, P.Brown 4-11 4-4 12, Magloire 3-8 4-6 10, Wesley 4-13 0-1 10, Davis 11-18 8-10 33, Armstrong 1-7 0-0 3, West 1-4 1-2 3, Augmon 2-7 0-0 4, Smith 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 28-79 20-27 83.

MIAMI (87)-C.Butler 1-6 3-4 5, Odom 6-12 3-4 16, Grant 3-5 0-0 6, Wade 9-17 2-4 21, Jones 9-21 4-9 25, Alston 0-2 1-2 1, Haslem 1-1 6-8 8, R.Butler 2-5 0-0 5, Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Wang 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-70 19-31 87.

New Orleans24221720-83

3-Point Goals-New Orleans 7-24 (Davis 3-8, Wesley 2-7, Smith 1-2, Armstrong 1-6, Lynch 0-1), Miami 6-14 (Jones 3-8, Odom 1-1, Wade 1-1, R.Butler 1-2, Alston 0-2). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-New Orleans 60 (P.Brown 13), Miami 49 (C.Butler 11). Assists-New Orleans 18 (Davis 7), Miami 16 (Wade 5). Total fouls-New Orleans 19, Miami 24. Technicals-Lynch, Davis, Magloire, New Orleans coach Floyd, Austin 2. Ejected-Austin. A-20,147 (19,600).

PACERS: The good news is the Pacers finally found out when their second-round playoff series will begin.

The bad news? It's not going to be anytime soon.

With their second-round opponent still in question, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Friday that league officials informed him the series won't start until next Thursday, regardless of what happens in the New Orleans-Miami series.

That means the Pacers face an 11-day break between games. Indiana wrapped up its first-round sweep of Boston on April 25.

The Pacers will face the winner of the Hornets-Heat series, which won't be decided until at least Sunday and possibly Tuesday.

NUGGETS: Forward Carmelo Anthony missed Friday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a sprained left knee.

Anthony said the decision was made after the team's morning shootaround. "It doesn't feel normal," he said in the Nuggets' locker room before Game 5. He said general manager Kiki Vandeweghe and coach Jeff Bzdelik told him, 'Don't take a chance on it."

The rookie was injured in the third quarter of Minnesota's 84-82 win Tuesday night when he came down on teammate Marcus Camby's foot and twisted his knee. He returned later in the quarter, but sat out the game's final seven minutes after his knee tightened up.

Anthony averaged 21 points during the regular season, but he's had a rough playoff series against the Wolves. He averaged 15 points in the four games and shot 1-for-16 and had two points in Game 4.

"It's tough losing your leading scorer," Bzdelik said. "But it's the right decision."

The Timberwolves led the best-of-seven series 3-1.

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