106 - 103 Final
  for this game

Sizzling Wade puts up 43 to lead Heat over Nets

Dec 21, 2008 - 5:12 AM By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writetr

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade was just a little too much for the New Jersey Nets.

Wade matched his season high with 43 points, including 12 of the Miami Heat's final 14 of the game Saturday to lift them to a 106-103 victory over the Nets.

Wade hit a reverse layup with 1:58 remaining to give the Heat the lead for good, 98-97.

Wade benefited 29 seconds later when he appeared to travel while falling down and driving the lane, but instead went to the foul line when Nets rookie big man Brook Lopez was whistled for a foul.

Wade hit single free throws 14 seconds apart and two more with 42 seconds left to make it 102-97. The NBA's scoring leader was 16-of-18 from the line and 13-of-22 from the field a night after torching the Los Angeles Lakers for 35 points in an 89-87 victory in Miami.

"Sometimes you're going to struggle, sometimes you're going to be in the zone, so you just have to stick with it knowing eventually it's going to turn around," Wade said. "That's all it (was) - a three-game skid where we were not shooting the ball well.

"It eventually turned around and now it's two games in a row where I have been very comfortable."

The Nets double-teamed Wade - who eclipsed 40 points for the 15th time in his career - in the fourth quarter. But that only seemed to make matters worse.

"You had a great player have an unbelievable performance, and we tried to throw everything at him," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He was relentless. He wouldn't give up. We tried to go into 'early mode' and get the ball out of his hands, but he's just relentless."

Devin Harris, who finished with 21 points and nine assists, made a pair from the line at 37 seconds, but Udonis Haslem countered with a 19-footer with 15 seconds left to make it a five-point game once again and interrupt Wade's run.

"I have just been waiting for the opportunity to try to get the black cloud out from over me," said Haslem, who has been mourning the death of his grandmother.

"It does affect your game. My family is the most important thing to me and when you lose a part of your family it's tough to carry on with your job, regardless of what your job is."

Daequan Cook added 17 points and rookie Michael Beasley added 11 for the Heat, who had lost three straight before these back-to-back victories. Miami shot 51 percent (39-of-76) from the field.

Lopez led the Nets in scoring for the first time, finishing with 22 points. He matched a career high with 13 rebounds and set one with five blocks. But it was the phantom foul call that stuck with the young center, who moved out to help double-team Wade.

"It obviously is frustrating, but you can't complain and you just have to keep playing hard," Lopez said. "Vince (Carter) kept telling me to push up on him and try to take away that jump shot."

Carter contributed 21 points for the Nets, who were playing at home on consecutive nights after blowing out the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

The Heat could not pull away in the third quarter, allowing the Nets to halve the halftime deficit and close within 80-77. Miami was just 6-of-22 from the floor in the third.

"We started to play better defense in that third quarter, but then we had four turnovers real quickly," Frank said. "Defensively we were able to do some better things, but we had an offensive rhythm and we kind of lost it in that quarter."

Behind 20 points from Wade, Miami grabbed a 62-56 lead at the half as both teams continued to shoot well. Wade made 7-of-9 from the floor while Cook was 3-for-3 from behind the arc before the intermission.

Neither team did much defensively in the first quarter, which ended with the Nets holding a 29-27 lead thanks to four points and six assists by Harris. New Jersey shot 69 percent (11-of-16) but allowed the Heat to shoot 68 percent (13-of-19) from inside the arc.

Harris, coming off a 41-point, 13-assist game against his former team to spoil Jason Kidd's return to the Meadowlands the night before, summed up Wade's star power.

"It's the reason why he's leading the league in scoring," Harris said. "He's a great player. I've seen it first-hand. Especially when he has a jump shot going like that, he's extremely tough to guard. We tried our best to get it out of his hands, but he still made plays. He is who he is."