for this game

Jones, bench come up big as Heat stop Hawks

Mar 6, 2007 - 5:56 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- With Dwyane Wade out with a shoulder injury, the Miami Heat need others to step up. They got that and more against the Atlanta Hawks.

Eddie Jones scored 14 of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter and the Heat played another stellar defensive game en route to an 88-81 victory over the scuffling Hawks.

Gary Payton led a bench brigade that accounted for 36 points with 11, seven rebounds and four assists for Miami, which has won nine straight home games and four of five since Wade went out of the lineup. The Heat (30-29) also moved above .500 for the first time this season since November 11.

"Every game somebody is going to have to do something," O'Neal said. "Last game it was Antoine (Walker), this game it was Eddie (Jones). On every good team, every great team, we have somebody who does something every night.

"Feels pretty good (to be above .500), but it's nothing to be happy about. I'm not going to be happy until we win the whole thing."

The 35-year-old Jones, who played for Miami from the 2000-01 season through '04-05, rejoined the club last month after being released by Memphis, shot 7-of-12 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from the arc.

"It's a beautiful thing, what the fans are doing here," Jones said. "It's making me feel right back at home again."

Jones hit a 3-pointer at the third-period buzzer to provide a 59-54 lead before providing a trio of daggers in the fourth. The first with 9:27 left gave the Heat a 67-58 edge. Another trey about 90 seconds later rebuilt a 70-63 edge and the finale with 2:16 left stretched the lead to 83-69.

"I came out in the second half and tried to get my balance on my shot," Jones said. "I felt good and had my legs in it. I thought in the first half I didn't have my legs in the shot. In the second half everything just kind of came together.

"I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. If I get open looks, take the open looks. We have enough to hold serve."

In addition to Payton, reserves James Posey had 10 points and five rebounds, Alonzo Mourning had seven and nine and Antoine Walker scored eight points for the Heat.

While Jones was lighting it up from the outside, the Heat held the Hawks to 41 percent (31-of-76) shooting and forced 16 turnovers. All-Star Joe Johnson was held to 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Miami had held three of its four previous foes to under 40 percent.

O'Neal had 14 points and nine rebounds for Miami, which played without forward Jason Kapono for most of the second half. He suffered a sprained left ankle in the third period.

"We just have to deal with it," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We have enough depth, maybe that's why we went out and did what we did a couple of years ago. We got a lot of players that have reputations and games, that have done something in this league, and now they just need to dust it off a little bit more, and hopefully play a bigger role."

Anthony Johnson and Josh Smith scored 16 points for Atlanta, which has lost six straight overall and 10th straight here.

"I thought we played hard tonight," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I mean, the energy level was there but in a close game you can't miss free throws, you can't have key breakdowns defensively. I thought that's what hurt us big time. That can't happen in a close game like it was tonight."

  • NBA
    ATLANTA 81

    Mar 5 10:05 PM

  • NBA
    ATLANTA 54

    Mar 5 9:28 PM

  • NBA
    ATLANTA 31

    Mar 5 8:44 PM

  • NBA
    ATLANTA 17

    Mar 5 8:13 PM