Heat On Fire With Win

2006 Honda Accord (American Honda Motor Co.)

The Miami Heat decided to treat their visit to Philadelphia like a playoff game. If they'd play more like this in the postseason, they'd last longer than one round.

Alonzo Mourning had 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Heat defeated the 76ers 98-93 Wednesday night for Miami's best start in franchise history.

"This is pretty much reminiscent of the Heat I know of old," said Mourning, who scored only five points in the second half due to foul trouble. "Now, we have to carry this over to the postseason."

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  • The Heat, who lost in the first round the last two years and five times since 1992, recovered from Tuesday night's loss to Portland and improved to 7-2 for the first time. They did so because Allen Iverson missed almost as many shots as the Sixers made.

    Iverson failed to score 30 points for the first time in six games and made only 8 of 27 shots for 24 points. Philadelphia shot 39 percent and had its three-game winning streak snapped.

    "If I play a better game, we win," Iverson said. "Simple as that."

    Controlling Iverson was as simple as putting 6-foot-6 Dan Majerle on him. Iverson, the defending NBA scoring champion and current scoring leader, missed nine of his first 10 shots, was 3-for-14 at halftime and 3-for-17 early in the third.

    "Everybody says the quickness deal is so one-sided, but he's a real smart defender and he's strong," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "He contained him well."

    Majerle scored only five points but served his purpose. Tim Hardaway had 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting and seven assists for Miami, while Mourning was 11-for-18 before fouling out with 29 seconds left.

    George Lynch hd a season-high 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, who started a tough four-game stretch on a sloppy note. Philadelphia plays Portland on Friday, New Jersey on Saturday and San Antonio on Monday.

    "Coach (Larry Brown) will tell you that I feel I've got to do everything every night for us to win," Iverson said. "That's hard. I'm so used to it by now, and they kind of look up to me for it. It was time to step up, I just couldn't get it done."

    Iverson scored 187 points in his last five games, including 39 Tuesday night against Washington. He was 3-for-17 before driving for a basket in the third period that cut the Heat's lead to 59-55.

    "We knew they were going to Allen," Mourning said. "We knew we weren't going to stop him. We tried to contain him. He took some tough shots."

    Mourning sat out six minutes in the third and fourth with foul trouble, then picked up his fifth foul less than a minute after returning. He checked out again with Miami leading 78-75 with 7:28 to play.

    The Heat survived without him, leading 81-79 when he returned with 4:46 remaining. Mourning promptly hit a layup, did a slow-motion taunting pose and made a free throw for an 84-80 lead with 4:21 left.

    Mourning then blocked Lynch on two straight attempts, leading to a tough fastbreak layup by Majerle to make it 86-80. Hardaway jumped up and down, and Mourning threw punches like a boxer in celebration.

    "I knew it was winning time, regardless of how many fouls I had," Mourning said.

    After trailing 11-2 and by as many as 15 points in the first half, Philadelphia cut it to 71-68 at the end of the third. Lynch drew Mourning's fourth foul and hit four straight free throws to cut it to 68-62 with 2:14 left. Aaron McKie followed with two straight jumpers and Larry Hughes hit two free throws to cut it to 69-68.

    Iverson hit a running jumper and Billy Owens scored on a tip-in to give the Sixers their first lead, 72-71, early in the fourth. Iverson was 5-for-22 at the time.

    The Sixers cut it to 86-84 with two straight baskets from Iverson, but got no closer.


  • Iverson, the league leader in 3-point percentage, was 1-for-3 after going 18-for-25 (72 percent) in the last five games.
  • The Heat started 6-3 last season, in 1991-92 and 1995-96.
  • The Heat, who came in averaging 106.8 points per game, failed to hit 100 for the third straight game.

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