TORONTO (AP)—Shaquille O’Neal was off-target again from the free throw line, and this time he was upset about it.
“I’m upset at myself. I should have had 50,” said O’Neal, who made just seven of his 20 attempts from the line. “I missed 13 free throws. That’s unacceptable. If I want to be accepted by Wilt and Kareem and Russell I’ve got to start playing better than that. Right now I’m still in the class of Hakeem and David Robinson and that’s not good enough for me. I want to be out there with the immortals.”
O’Neal is shooting a career-worst 46 percent from the line this season.
“I’ve got to start hitting my throws. It will be there playoff time, but I’ve got to start hitting them now so people know,” O’Neal said.
Jones went 8-for-11 from the field for the Heat, who have won just six of their last 12 games. O’Neal suggested Jones needed to make more shots after Jones went 3-for-12 from the field in Monday’s loss to Philadelphia.
“As a general, and as a leader of this team, whatever I’ve got to do get my guys going I’ll do it every time. If I have to be the bad guy sometime, I’ll guess I’ll take that,” O’Neal said. “That’s what a leader and a general and a chief of police does. Everybody is not going to like it, but I don’t care if they like or not. I’m Bush, so if they don’t like it resign.”
O’Neal tied a season-high with 15 defensive rebounds for the Heat, who outrebounded the Raptors 51-40. Miami also outscored Toronto 48-26 in the paint, and shot 53 percent compared to 38 percent for Toronto.
“We pretty much had our way,” O’Neal said. “If we do what were supposed to do as a team we’ll get the win most of the time. Tonight we definitely did what were supposed to do.”
Dwyane Wade had 16 points and 10 assists despite playing with a sore left knee and ankle.
Former Heat point guard Rafer Alston had a career-high 29 points and Chris Bosh added a career-high 27 for the Raptors, who had won their previous five home games. Bosh had 15 points in the first quarter, but played just one minute in the second quarter after picking up his third foul.
Miami started to pull away in the second quarter after Toronto put rail-thin Loren Woods on O’Neal, who scored seven straight points to give the Heat an 11-point lead with 2:52 left in the half. Jones’ 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Miami a 15-point lead at halftime.
Toronto narrowed the lead to 10 points in the third quarter as Alston capped a 10-1 run by converting a three-point play, but Jones followed with consecutive jumpers and O’Neal dunked after he missed a free throw to give Miami a 15-point lead.
“He was just too good for us,” Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said.
Wade’s steal and layup made it a 20-point game with 9:57 remaining.
Both teams struggled from the line. Miami went 29-for-49, while Toronto went 31-for-45.
O’Neal had an assortment of police patches with him after the game.
“I was walking with my big fur coat and they pulled their guns out on me because they thought I was sasquatch, so I told them if they give me a couple of patches I won’t press charges,” O’Neal said.
Asked about the Florida Marlins signing slugger Carlos Delgado, O’Neal said, “Who is that?” Informed Delgado is a baseball player who signed with the Marlins, O’Neal said, “Oh, I welcome him. He can come by my house, you know where I live, eat some dinner. I don’t have to share the spotlight. I don’t have any spotlight. Nobody knows who I am down there. I’m just another pretty Latin face in Miami.” … The Heat signed free-agent forward Qyntel Woods, waived forward Jerome Beasley and placed Wesley Person on the injured list. The 6-foot-8 Woods was waived Friday by the Portland Trail Blazers after admitting in court that he mistreated his dog. … Bosh’s previous career-high was 26 on Jan. 12 versus Boston, while Alston’s was 27 on Nov. 13, 2004 versus Philadelphia. … Toronto had won 10 of its previous 11 home games.