Kendall Gill swiped his way into the NBA record book Saturday while Pat Riley's team was falling further into despair.
Gill tied a 23-year-old NBA record with 11 steals and the New Jersey Nets turned Miami's sudden slump even worse, beating the Heat 88-77. Miami has lost four straight and six of seven to fall from the ranks of the league's elite.
"This is like a bad dream," Alonzo Mourning said. "Things just aren't right, and I don't know what's wrong. But we've got to get things right in a hurry."
Gill had a triple-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and his 11 steals tied the record set by Larry Kenon of San Antonio against Kansas City on Dec. 26, 1976.
Gill joined Clyde Drexler as the only NBA players to achieve the odd triple-double of points, rebounds and steals.
"I almost had two more, too," Gill said upon hearing that he had tied the league record for steals. "If I had known that, I would have tried a little harder to get a couple more."
The Heat had their second-lowest point total of the season and lost to a New Jersey team that shot only 34 percent. Miami committed 21 turnovers, shot only 37 percent from the field and failed to put a sustained run together in the second half.
It added up to their 11th loss of the season, moving the Heat closer to fifth place in the conference than they are to first place.
"We're now in a fight like everyone else in the Eastern Conference," Riley said. "We've got to find a way to stay consistent through 48 minutes and get through this."
"They shot 34 percent and beat us. When you're desperate, those things happen. And when you give a team life and make them feel good about themselves, those things happen."
Keith Van Horn scored 27, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and Stephon Marbury had 21 for the Net, who now have their first two-game winning streak of the season.
Mourning had 23 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocked shots before fouling out with 2:53 left. But despite his gaudy numbers, Mourning failed to take over offensively against a Nets team that was missing its three best centers Jayson Williams, Rony Seikaly and Jim McIlvaine.
Terry Porter added 17 points for Miami, making four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Tim Hardaway shot only 3-for-17 and had six points.
"We're in a funk right now," Hardaway said. "I don't know what it is and I don't know what it's going to take. I know I've got to start making some shots. If I do that, maybe the team will follow me."
"I hate playing teams like this who are better than their record. This is what can happen."
Miami failed to exploit the Mourning matchup in the first half as their center took only five shots from the field. Content to settle for outside shots, Hardaway missed eight in a row at one point and Jamal Mashburn shot only 1-for-5.
The Nets, on the other hand, played with an energy level that belied their abysmal record. After trailing 24-16 following the first quarter, New Jersey went on a 26-6 run ending with a 3-pointer by Marbury for a 42-30 lead en route to a 44-38 halftime advantage.
A layup by Mashburn pulled the Heat within two, 48-46, but the Nets reeled off the next 11 points, including seven in a row by Marbury, for a 59-46 lead.
It was 61-52 entering the fourth, and New Jersey upped its lead to 74-61 on a 3-pointer by Chris Carr with 6:27 left. The closest Miami got after that was five points on Porter's 3-pointer with 32 seconds left.
Notes: Gill had two triple-doubles earlier in his career before joining the Nets. ... Mourning's nine blocks tied the most in an NBA game this season. Chris Webber of Sacramento, Shawn Bradley of Dallas and Theo Ratliff of Philadelphia each blocked nine. ... The Heat hadn't lost four in a row since April 1996. ... The Nets had lost their first two games of the season against Miami by 23 and 26 points. ... William Cunningham started at center for New Jersey as the Nets used their 14th different starting lineup. ... Hardaway failed to make a 3-pointer for the first time in 34 games.
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