for this game

O'Neal, Davis lead Heat past Bobcats

Nov 28, 2007 - 5:09 AM By Michael Snyder PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MIAMI (Ticker) -- A change in the lineup was all Shaquille O'Neal and the Miami Heat needed to return to their old form.

O'Neal scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half as the Heat posted an easy 110-90 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday.

Ricky Davis scored a season high-tying 23 points off the bench and rookie Daequan Cook scored a season-high 19 for Miami, which has won two of three and three of five after beginning the season at 1-9.

"It's a good look for me coming off the bench," Davis said. "I added energy. I'll try and win that Sixth Man Award that I didn't win in Boston."

It was also the most points scored by the Heat since a 113-93 win vs. Charlotte on February 5 as Miami was going for its third straight Southeast Division crown.

The victory helped the Heat snap a four-game losing streak against the Bobcats, including a 91-76 drubbing by Charlotte on November 13. In that game, the Bobcats led by as many as 30 points in fourth quarter before cruising to victory.

"We owed them," O'Neal said.

The Heat were coming off their worst loss of the young season, a 120-99 defeat to ex-coach Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic.

In this one, they watched as coach Pat Riley benched Davis and starting point guard Jason Williams, inserting Penny Hardaway and Chris Quinn into the starting lineup.

"Well, we found a starting lineup," Riley joked before turning serious. "I'm looking for a balance across the board in energy, talent and skills. Whether or not this remains the way it is for a while, we'll just go with it. We just need to do something."

It paid off as O'Neal looked for his offense early while Davis provided firepower for the reserves. O'Neal, who shot 7-of-9 from the field, connected on 3-of-4 for seven points early on as Miami led 23-15 after one period.

The 14-time All-Star missed only two of his first eight shots as the Heat led 55-43 at the half.

"They basically did what they wanted to do in the first half," said Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace, who led Charlotte with 16 points. "They controlled the tempo. That's not something you can do with a team like this, especially at home."

Davis, meanwhile, had 18 of his total in the middle two quarters as the Heat were up 86-62 entering the final period, their largest lead of the season.

"Ricky Davis gave them an incredible punch off the bench," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "They took him out of the starting lineup and that turned out to be a great move. He came into a role where he could just shoot the ball and be aggressive and just have no conscience, and it worked really well."

The 10-year veteran, who has played for five different teams, hit 4-of-5 from the arc, with his last pushing Miami's lead to 29 points, 93-64, with 10:52 left.

"It suits my game a little bit," Davis said of coming in when O'Neal and Dwyane Wade were on the bench. "I got a lot of open shots."

After Udonis Haslem hit a jumper from the free-throw line with 4:32 remaining, Miami led 104-77 - the most points the team had scored all season.

Six players reached double figures for the Heat, who shot a season-best 58 percent (40-of-69) and also received a season-high 66 points from their reserves.

"It all started with the energy we bench players brought," said Heat reserve center Alonzo Mourning, who spent much of his time playing with Davis and Williams on the court.

Raymond Felton scored 14 points for the Bobcats, who shot 46 percent (34-of-74) and have dropped a season-high four straight.

"We did not execute at the beginning of the game and got down," Felton said. "We never recovered from that."

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