Heat 96, Hornets 83

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MIAMI (AP)—The Miami Heat couldn’t have picked a more opportune time to get on a winning streak at home.

Dwyane Wade scored 23 points to lead Miami over the New Orleans Hornets 96-83 Tuesday night for its season-best sixth straight home win.

“It was a game that we wanted, a game that we needed on our home floor,” Wade said.

With the win, Miami remained tied with the New York Knicks for seventh in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat never trailed and outscored the Hornets 18-11 in the final 9:17. While the Heat are soaring at home, New Orleans has lost seven straight on the road.

Caron Butler finished with 20 points and Rafer Alston added 17, including a 3-pointer in the first quarter that set a franchise record for making at least one 3-pointer in 34 consecutive games.

Baron Davis had 23 points to lead the Hornets, who played without injured starters Jamal Mashburn and P.J. Brown and finished the game with nine players.

“This was a terrible loss and a terrible game to be a part of,” Davis said. “We have to put it behind us.”

New Orleans’ Jamaal Magloire and Miami’s Lamar Odom each were ejected in the third quarter, and there were seven technical fouls in the game.

“I don’t know what that was,” Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. “That’s about as wild as it gets.”

Odom added: “It was scrappy but it is going to be like that this time of year.”

Odom was tossed after a verbal exchange with Robert Traylor, resulting in his second technical. He got his first in the second quarter for arguing a call.

“I wasn’t taunting,” Odom said of his second technical. “I was just sticking up for my teammates.”

Magloire’s ejection by referee Eddie F. Rush came after he tossed the ball in the stands in the third period.

“We lost our heads for a while there,” Van Gundy said. “In all fairness, that was an extremely difficult game to officiate when (the Hornets) made it very physical. I mean, on screens, they’re grabbing people’s arms. It wasn’t even physical stuff, not good basketball.”

Although the Heat twice built double-digit leads early in the game and second half, the Hornets kept close behind the 3-point shooting of Davis and Darrell Armstrong, who came off the bench to score 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

“Every time you’re playing from behind, you have to play solid,” Armstrong said. “You have to be solid in the fourth quarter, that is when the game is won.”

Armstrong and Davis combined for five 3-pointers during a four-minute stretch that bridged the third and fourth quarters to cut New Orleans’ 12-point deficit to 78-72.

“We played pretty good in the second half and got ourselves back into it but slipped at the end,” said Hornets Steve Smith, who finished with 12 points.

Miami opened the game with a 14-4 run as Butler and Wade each scored six points.

New Orleans twice cut Miami’s lead to one early in the second quarter and Stacy Augmon’s jumper with 1:55 remaining in the period reduced the Heat’s advantage to 41-39.

But Miami outscored New Orleans 8-4 the rest of the half, capped off by Rasual Butler’s 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left in the period.

“Miami is a much improved basketball team,” New Orleans coach Tim Floyd said. “Coach Van Gundy has done a terrific job with that group.”

Alston’s 3-pointer late in the first quarter set the Heat’s record of 34 consecutive games with a 3-pointer. Tim Hardaway had 33 twice, in 1997-98 and 1998-99.

Alston, who began his streak on Jan. 7, has the longest such streak in the NBA this season.

“They still leave me open,” Alston said. “I just nail them.”


Mashburn was placed on the injured list because of a knee injury. Brown sat out Tuesday’s game due to a sprained ankle. Brown also is expected to miss Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia . … The Hornets dressed only 10 players against the Heat. … Miami’s winning streak is the longest since a nine-gamestreak in 2000-2001.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 New Orleans
B. Davis B. Davis
9-22,  23 Pts
9 Rebs, 5 Assists
L. Odom L. Odom
3-11,  9 Pts
13 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders