for this game

O'Neal helps Heat edge Celtics

Apr 7, 2007 - 5:16 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- With his team struggling near the end, Shaquille O'Neal found a way to help secure a victory.

O'Neal scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds but it was a pass that helped the Miami Heat edge the Boston Celtics, 88-85.

Udonis Haslem had 17 points and nine rebounds and James Posey added 13 and seven, including the key basket to spark Miami to victory.

"This was what you call sort of trap game," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "The dynamics are such that our energy level is down and theirs is up.

"We played a tough game Thursday night. I showed a lot of patience with the team tonight. The important thing is we end up winning on the road and now we go home and play Charlotte Sunday."

The Heat trailed, 83-80, with 1:27 remaining when Eddie Jones nailed a 3-pointer to knot to the score.

"The three felt great," Jones said. "It felt like we were going to send it to overtime."

Following a miss by Boston, Haslem misfired on a jumper but O'Neal hauled in the miss and fed Posey underneath, whose basket and subsequent free throw gave Miami an 86-83 lead with 53 seconds left.

"I didn't expect the pass," Posey said. "Shaq is a big guy with nice passing abilities and he found the open guy."

After Celtics rookie Rajon Rondo made a six-foot runner in the lane to cut Boston's deficit to 86-85 with 42 seconds remaining, Haslem made a jumper from the left corner with 21 ticks on the clock to put the Heat back up by three, 88-85.

"The Heat just executed better down the stretch in the last couple of minutes than we did," Celtics forward Ryan Gomes said. "That was really the difference."

Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair missed 3-pointers for Boston in the last five seconds to secure the win for Miami (42-34), which increased its Southeast Division lead to 2 1/2 games over the Washington Wizards. Washington (39-36) lost to Cleveland, 99-94 on Friday.

"We were going to go for the win, whatever they had done when that shot that Haslem hit," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We were going for the tie, obviously. We got everything we wanted, even to that last shot, we got Gerald a great shot for three."

O'Neal connected on 10-of-19 shots for the Heat, who shot 47 percent (36-of-77) and have now won five of six from the Celtics.

Gomes scored 24 points and Green added 21 for Boston, which shot 43 percent (34-of-80) and have lost two straight.

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