The Miami Heat were steamed that New Jersey's Stephon Marbury got top billing in television promos for Sunday's game. The aftermath left Nets coach John Calipari under fire.
"NBC! They don't give us NO love," Alonzo Mourning said after his 25 points and 11 rebounds helped Miami beat the Nets 102-76, the Heat's 10th consecutive home victory.
Following Friday's three-team deal that brought Marbury to New Jersey from Minnesota, NBC juggled its regional plans by showing the Nets-Heat to 93 percent of the country.
But Miami players were none too happy that promos focused on Marbury's arrival, virtually ignoring the Atlantic Division leaders, who have lost only twice in the past 4½ weeks.
"NBC doesn't show us very much, but that's all right," Heat guard Tim Hardaway said. "We've still got to go out and do our job and do it well. We did that today."
Marbury played Miami's All-Star guard to a virtual standstill with 21 points and five assists, compared to Hardaway's 20 points and eight assists. But the rest of the Nets struggled to adjust.
New Jersey shot only 36 percent from the field (28 of 78), committed 18 turnovers and allowed Miami to match its season high in scoring.
"I didn't expect this," Marbury said. "This is bad for us. We need to have a better understanding of what we're doing. Guys were just playing basketball today."
Calipari, in trouble for his team's 3-17 start, met for 34 minutes afterward with Nets owners Finn Wentworth and Lewis Katz. H emerged with his job intact, saying the owners just wanted to know where things go from here.
"We've got to step it up -- me, the team, the players, everybody," he said.
Asked if he had received a vote of confidence, Calipari said: "No. I hate votes of confidence. Votes of confidence are ugly."
New Jersey lost its seventh straight largely because of its inability to match Mourning's inside presence. Mourning came within a rebound of a double-double in the first quarter alone, collecting 12 points and nine rebounds as the Heat took a 25-20 lead.
Nets centers Jayson Williams and Jim McIlvaine were in foul trouble from the start, as Williams picked up two personals in the opening 2:09. By the 4:06 mark of the third quarter, Williams had four fouls and McIlvaine five. Both wound up fouling out.
"I thought Zo and the team were at the top of their games," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "This was a complete win."
Terry Porter added 14 points off the bench for Miami, hitting all five field-goal attempts. The Heat (16-5) have not lost at Miami Arena since opening 0-2 at home with losses to Detroit and Boston.
"I know the blame often falls on the coach, but it has to fall on the players as well," Van Horn said. "A lot of times, we just don't do what we're supposed to do."
Marbury appeared to fit in right away, hitting two shots and dishing out an assist as the Nets took a 12-6 lead in the opening 4:40. But things quickly went downhill from there.
Mourning scored eight points as the Heat embarked on a 17-4 scoring spree, ending with two Porter free throws that gave Miami a 23-16 advantage with 1:23 left in the quarter. After hitting six of their first eight field-goal attempts, New Jersey went 3-for-13 the rest of the period.
Miami also ended the second quarter with a 16-2 burst to lead 50-35 at halftime. The Nets never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.
NotesThe Heat have held 20 of their 21 opponents under 100 points, the best streak in team history. Before this season, the most any Miami team had held opponents below 100 in their first 20 games was four times in 1996-97. ... New Jersey's 25 points in the third quarter was more than the Heat had allowed in its two previous games combined. Miami held Toronto to eight third-quarter points in an 83-73 win Thursday, and limited Atlanta to 10 in the third quarter of an 88-78 triumph.
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