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Shaq returns to lead Heat past Nets 106-90
Updated: 2005-03-04 14:00

Shaquille O'Neal returned from a three-game absence and had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade led a third-quarter surge that sent the Miami Heat past the New Jersey Nets 106-90 Thursday night.

Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal, right, smiles as he walks to the line after being purposely fouled by New Jersey Nets' Jason Kidd during the fourth quarter Thursday night, March 3, 2005, in East Rutherford, N.J. 106-90. [AP]
Wade had 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Heat, who thoroughly outclassed the Nets in the second half to end New Jersey's three-game winning streak.

The final two quarters were so lopsided that Alonzo Mourning was able to make his Heat debut during garbage time, playing the final 2:19 and grabbing two rebounds. The 11-year veteran, who left Miami as a free agent two summers ago, re-signed with the Heat earlier this week after being traded from New Jersey to Toronto and then being waived by the Raptors.

Vince Carter scored 27 points to lead the Nets, but he shot just 1-for-11 in the second half and missed his final seven attempts. The Nets shot only 37 percent overall and were outrebounded 47-31.

Miami also got 15 points from Eddie Jones and 13 from Udonis Haslem to improve the Eastern Conference's best record to 43-16. The Heat went 2-1 in their three games without O'Neal, who sprained his left knee Feb. 22 against Chicago.

The Nets went ahead by 14 points during the first quarter as Carter shot 5-for-6 and Wade was 1-for-6, but Miami worked its way back during the second quarter and pulled to 48-44 by halftime.

A 3-pointer by Damon Jones tied it at 48-all early in the third quarter, and Wade had 12 points and six assists over the remainder of the period to help the Heat to a 76-65 lead entering the fourth.

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