for this game

Wade, O'Neal come through as Heat top Sixers

Feb 22, 2009 - 1:29 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Two games into a new roster experiment, the Miami Heat seem to be catching on quickly.

Dwyane Wade collected 25 points and nine assists and Jermaine O'Neal recorded the first double-double of his young Heat career in a 97-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

O'Neal finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Udonis Haslem chipped in 13 and 10 for the Heat, who bounced back from a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

"After dropping a game at home to Minnesota when we had an opportunity to take a step and make some separation, it was a must win for us to get this game versus a team that we are fighting with in the playoffs," Wade said.

Fellow newcomer Jamario Moon, who came over from the Toronto Raptors along with O'Neal in a trade prior to Thursday's deadline, made his presence felt as well, pouring in 12 points in 24 minutes and winning a key jump ball against the taller Marreese Speights with 1:15 left in the game.

"We think it's going to get even better," Miami coach Eric Spoelstra said. "Jermaine has so much experience. Even now he doesn't know the whole offensive system, but he is able to read plays and do things instinctively. It's going to be a great combination, Dwyane and him."

It was a much stronger showing for both O'Neal and Moon, who combined for 13 points and two rebounds in their Miami debut against the Timberwolves - with Moon logging just over four minutes of playing time.

"Everybody played hard and we got that 'W'," Moon said. "We desperately needed that. We are trying to fight for that fourth spot in the East. If we keep playing the way we played in the fourth quarter, we'll be good."

But Wade showed his new teammates what happens down the stretch for the Heat, giving them a 88-87 lead on a pair of free throws with 2:01 left in the game and pushing it to 92-87 with a driving layup one minute later.

The 76ers had a chance to tie with 15 seconds left but Louis Williams missed a 3-point attempt and O'Neal grabbed the defensive rebound.

"The second half (Wade) sort of took over and he was real aggressive not only scoring, but passing the ball," Sixers interim coach Tony DiLeo said. "Jermaine O'Neal definitely gives him a post-up presence so they have a good inside and outside game."

Miami hit 9-of-10 free-throw attempts in the final 2:40 and shot 51 percent (38-of-74) from the floor in the contest.

"It's typical Eastern Conference basketball," Spoelstra said. "Jermaine has a lot of experience with these types of games and our guys are starting to thrive in these types of competitive, physical games."

Philadelphia used a 9-2 run to take an 87-84 lead with 2:51 left but went cold from the field after that, hitting just one of its final six shots and finishing 33-of-89 (37 percent) from the floor.

"Dwyane took over the game for them," Williams said. "He requires so much attention that he was able to get other people involved. That is what it all boiled down to. He made every play down the stretch for them."

Andre Miller led with 30 points and Williams finished with 22 off the bench for the Sixers, who have lost three straight.

"Teams know we want to get out and run," Miller said. "We play some decent halfcourt ball. We didn't get up and down the court as much as we like. We just could not keep them out of the paint down the stretch."