Final - OT
  for this game

Murphy spoils O'Neal'eturn as Pacers edge Heat in overtime

Jan 25, 2007 - 6:30 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Troy Murphy and the Indiana Pacers made sure the return of Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal was an unwelcomed one.

Murphy scored 17 points and hauled in 12 rebounds as the Pacers posted a 96-94 overtime victory over the Heat.

Danny Granger had 16 points and Jamaal Tinsley added 14 and five assists for Indiana, which received strong play from its bench to withstand the return of O'Neal and a superb effort from Dwyane Wade.

After Wade tied the game at 87-87 with 18 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, Murphy hit the clutch shot in the extra period to push the Pacers to their ninth straight win over the Heat here.

"It was a great win for us, obviously for the way we came back," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

Murphy, who was playing in his third game with Indiana after coming over in a trade last week from Golden State, hit a 16-foot corner jumper off a pass from Tinsley to give the Pacers a 96-92 lead with 42 seconds remaining.

"I'm just trying to fit in at this point," Murphy said. "I'm learning better where I need to be offensively and defensively. Jamaal is looking for me more on the screen- and-roll and I'm getting some open shots."

Miami cut their deficit to 96-94 on a runner by Jason Kapono eight seconds later. After Indiana's Marquise Daniels missed a short jumper, Udonis Haslem rebounded and Miami called time out. Kapono ended up with an open 3-pointer from the left wing, but the shot bounced around the rim before falling off.

"I saw two guys, and Gary Payton's guy started at me pretty hard," Kapono said. "I gave it up to him and he passed it back. His man stayed with him and mine stayed in the paint. Gary's guy came at me hard and it was a tough shot. It just didn't stay down."

The Pacers overcame a 20-point third quarter deficit on the strength of reserves Darrell Armstrong, Daniels and Ike Diogu, who combined for 28 points. They helped the Pacers outscore the Heat reserves 30-10, with the trio scoring 24 after intermission.

"Our second group did a great job bringing us back in the fourth quarter," Carlisle said.

"This one was a tough one to take," Wade said. "Not just because we were up 20, but because we really needed this win. Out of all the games so far this season, this is the one that hurt the most."

The Pacers' effort spoiled the return of O'Neal, who returned after missing 35 games after surgery to his left knee. The game also marked just the ninth time in his career O'Neal did not start a game.

O'Neal entered the game with 4:48 left in the first quarter to a smattering of applause from the crowd. He collected his first rebound 15 seconds later and attempted his first shot a possession later when he spun baseline on Jermaine O'Neal, who recovered to block the 14-time All-time from behind, sending the 7-1, 315-pound center sprawling to the floor.

"It's going to be a process for Shaquille," Heat interim coach Ron Rothstein said. "It's going to take him time to get his legs back. You could see he was rusty. It's just going to take a lot of practice."

The 2000 NBA MVP scored his first point on a free throw with 40.5 seconds left in the first period. He tallied his first basket with 4:42 left in the third period on a follow shot. He finished with five points, five rebounds in 14 minutes.

Wade finished with 32 points, five rebounds and eight assists for the Heat, who shot 44 percent (37-of-85) and had 10 blocks.

"Indiana earned it," Heat interim coach Ron Rothstein said. "They did a lot of things. They defended well and they came after us. They moved the ball and shot it well. I would say they played harder than us."

Kapono added 18 points and Haslem and Alonzo Morning each had 14 for Miami.

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