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Nets Beat The Heat


After losing to the Chicago Bulls and the New Jersey Nets on consecutive nights, you better believe Pat Riley is concerned about his Miami Heat. Very concerned.

The stuggling Nets added to Riley's woes on Friday night, squandering a seven-point lead and then rallying for a 91-84 victory as Stephon Marbury took over after Atlantic Division-leading Miami took the lead, scoring nine of his 18 points.

"Our offense is stuck in the mud," Riley said after watching the Heat commit 24 turnovers, including three big ones with the game on the line. "Our big players are not making shots and they are careless and tentative with the ball."

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  • "The turnovers were the difference tonight. In the crucial moments at the end of the game, each of our three best players turned the ball over," Riley added. "I'm very concerned about the offense, it's absolutely stagnant."

    Miami made just two baskets and gave the ball away three times after tying the game at 80 with 3:48 to play. The Nets also made plays in beating Miami for the second time this season.

    "On any given night we can beat anybody if we play defense," Marbury said.

    Kendall Gill added four of his 18 points and had a key steal in the final minutes and Keith Van Horn had 19 points and 11 rebounds for New Jersey.

    Tim Hardaway had 18 points and Alonzo Mourning 15 points and 11 rebounds, but each made mistakes down the stretch as Miami was embarrassed for the second straight night. Miami lost to the Bulls 83-76 on Thursday night.

    There were four lead changes and two ties in the final quarter after Miamgot back into the game with a 12-2 run.

    After Hardaway tied the game, Marbury put the Nets back in front with two free throws after being fouled by Mourning with 3:28 to go.

    Neither team scored again until Marbury sank a high arcing floater over Mourning for an 84-80 lead with 1:25 to play.

    Mourning dunked at the other end and Miami got a chance to tie the game when Gill missed a drive. However, Gill stripped the ball from Hardaway at other end and took a return pass from Kerry Kittles for a breakaway layup with 46.4 seconds left.

    "Miami is a tough team," Gill said. "They execute very well, have good players and a great coach. But the bottom line is they are predictable. I love playing them because I know exactly what they are going to do."

    Miami hit only one shot the rest of the way, with Mourning going 3-of-8 from the field in the quarter.

    Miami, which hadn't led since the middle of the second quarter, wiped out a 70-63 deficit by opening the fourth quarter with a 12-2 spurt. It featured a three-point play by Clarence Weatherspoon and dunks by Mark Strickland and Mourning.

    Miami jumped to a 10-point lead by hitting 7-of-9 shots but New Jersey offset the shooting by forcing seven turnovers and grabbing seven offensive rebounds to tie the game at 25.

    Johnny Newman had a rare four-point play to ignite a 13-4 run at the end of the second quarter that gave New Jersey a 50-41 halftime lead.

    Notes

  • The 24 turnovers were one shy of the Heat's high for the season.
  • It was the Nets' first victory eight tries on a Friday night.
  • The loss was Miami's fourth in 16 games against Atlantic Division teams.
  • Nets rookie Evan Eschmeyer had a season-high five points and played well in the second half.
  • Miami was called for two technical fouls and one flagrant on Anthony Carter for shoving Marbury on a breakaway layup attempt in the fourth quarter.

    ©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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