Archive for Monday, April 19, 2004

Heat burn Hornets

April 19, 2004

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— With 11 seconds left and Miami needing a score for its first playoff win in four years, coach Stan Van Gundy called on rookie Dwyane Wade.

Good decision.

Wade sank a seven-foot jumper with 1.3 seconds left, and the Heat defeated New Orleans, 81-79, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series Sunday night.

"I've always been the kind of person who likes to take the shot," Wade said. "I felt a lot of confidence that coach gave me the ball, and I wanted to make him proud."

The Heat earned their playoff berth thanks to a 17-4 finish, and they had just enough to finish off the Hornets after blowing a 12-point lead with 71/2 minutes left. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series will be Wednesday in Miami, where the Heat have 13 wins in a row.

The city's first playoff game since 2001 drew a Heat postseason-record crowd of 20,102, with most fans clad in black. The Heat made the mood festive rather than funereal, even though they missed 14 consecutive shots in the second quarter to fall behind by 10 points, then went five minutes without a point down the stretch.

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