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Heat Rally To Edge Nets 95-93

Alonzo Mourning scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 13 rebounds Saturday as the Miami Heat rallied from a 20-point third quarter deficit and edged the New Jersey Nets, 95-93.

The victory was Miami's ninth straight overall and ninth in a row on the road. The Heat has now won 13 of its last 14.

Miami, which entered the fourth quarter trailing 78-63, won it without Tim Hardaway who was ejected after receiving two technical fouls with 4:51 to play in the third period. They also lost Keith Askins, who was called for a flagrant foul and ejected with 6:39 remaining in the game.

The Heat opened the fourth quarter by outscoring the Nets, 12-4, cutting the gap to 82-75 with 7:13 to play. Mourning had five points in the spurt while Vashon Lenard added four.

Trailing 86-76 after Keith Van Horn hit two free throws following Askins' flagrant foul, the Heat went on a 15-1 run to take the lead for good at 91-87.

Lenard had five points in the decisive burst while Mourning and Mark Strickland each had four.

The Nets, who had built a 71-51 lead in the third period, had just two field goals in the fourth quarter until Kerry Kittles scored with just 1:13 remaining. During that draught, they went 6:16 without a basket, managing just five free throws.

New Jersey had one last chance to win it after Van Horn's jumper with 32.9 seconds remaining made it 93-91. But when Van Horn intercepted Mourning's pass with 10 seconds to play, he threw a long up-court pass out of bounds. Eric Murdock, who replaced Hardaway and finished with 10 points, iced the game by hitting two free throws with 5.5 seconds remaining.

Lenard finished with 19 points while P.J. Brown added 17 for Miami. Kendall Gill led the Nets with 22 points while Sam Cassell added 19.

Notes: The win moved Riley within one victory of 900 for his career ... Only four other NBA coaches - Lenny Wilkens, Bill Fitch, Red Auerbach and Dick Motta - have won 900 games ... The Heat finished February with a 13-2 record which is the best mark for that month in franchise history ... The nine-game winning streak matches the franchise-best mark set Feb. 1-18, 1997 when the Heat finished the month with a 12-2 mark ... The 13 victories are also a franchise record for victories in any one month.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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