Fri, Nov 05, 2004 - Page 23 News List

O'Neall starts cautiously for Miami, scoring only 16

SHAQ ATTACK O'Neal's debut in black was anything but dominant, but he says he was ordered to be 100 percent when he came back, which he hasn't been for 10 years


Shaquille O'Neal, center, of the Miami Heat dunks over Richard Jefferson, left, of the New Jersey Nets at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.


Shaquille O'Neal shot 7-for-9 and finished with 16 points in his Miami debut on Wednesday as the Heat took a 100-77 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

It was anything but a dominant debut in black for O'Neal, who was acquired over the summer from the Los Angeles Lakers for three starters and a first-round draft pick.

"I was ordered to be 100 percent when I came back, but I haven't been 100 percent in about 10 years," O'Neal said.

O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning both had successful nights: O'Neal because his team won; Mourning because the former Miami center was able to play less than a year after undergoing a kidney transplant.

Mourning finished with seven points, five rebounds and four fouls in 14 minutes for a gutted Nets team that's a shadow of the squad that reached the NBA Finals two of the past three years.

Former starters Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles were traded for draft picks over the summer, and Jason Kidd is beginning the season on the injured list after undergoing knee surgery.

Richard Jefferson had 19 points to lead New Jersey.

O'Neal had only six points and three rebounds in the first half, missing his first shot, making his next three and missing his last.

"It went better than I thought it would go," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "But I'm not going to go crazy on the superlatives after one game."

Magic 93, Bucks 92In Orlando, Florida, Steve Francis hit the game-winning basket with two-tenths of a second remaining and finished with 26 points as the new-look Orlando edged Mil-waukee.

Grant Hill, in his first regular-season action since Jan. 16, last year, scored 20 points. Top draft pick Dwight Howard had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

On the final possession, Hill inbounded from the left to Francis at the top of the arc. Francis beat Mo Williams on the turn to the basket and got the shot off despite being fouled.

The buzzer sounded as the shot fell, and the Magic celebrated. After a brief review, the officials let the shot stand but reset the clock and brought the Magic back out for Francis' free throw. Francis intentionally missed the foul shot, and time expired.

Timberwolves 99, Knicks 93

In Minneapolis, Kevin Garnett began his quest to repeat as league-most-valuable player with 28 points and 20 rebounds to lead Minnesota past New York.

Latrell Sprewell, whose complaints about his lack of a contract extension were the talk of the town this week, had 10 points against his former team. Sam Cassell added 19 points and 11 assists for the Timberwolves.

Stephon Marbury, also up against his old club, led the Knicks with 27 points. Jamal Crawford, in his first game with New York since arriving from Chicago in a summer trade, capably filled Allan Houston's spot in the starting lineup with 22 points on 10-for-23 shooting.

Raptors 95, Rockets 88

In Toronto, Chris Bosh had 20 points and Toronto handed Tracy McGrady and Houston their second straight loss.

McGrady scored 21 points, but only two after the third quarter; and Yao Ming finished with 17 points.

Vince Carter, who asked for a trade this summer, added 16 points and six assists for the Raptors to help Sam Mitchell win in his first game as Toronto's coach.

76ers 98, Celtics 95

In Boston, Allen Iverson scored 30 points, five of them during an 11-0 fourth-quarter run when Phil-adelphia took the lead and held off Boston.

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