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Sacramento at Miami

Heat win ninth consecutive game, 14th straight at home

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- Besides rookie Chris Quinn, there's only one man in the Miami Heat locker room without a championship ring.

And Eddie Jones is playing like he desperately wants one.

He hit his first five 3-point attempts to give Miami to a big early lead, and the defending NBA champion Heat extended the NBA's longest current winning streak to nine games with a 103-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

"I want to feel what they felt last year," Jones said. "I've always wanted to feel that. I just want to know how it feels. I'm driven by that, just to feel that, to play on the best team, the best in the world."

For now, he'll settle for being on a team virtually tied for first with Washington in the Southeast Division.

Shaquille O'Neal scored 23 points, while Jones and Jason Williams finished with 19 apiece for the Heat (36-29), who've won 14 straight at home and are now two percentage points behind the Wizards (35-28), who were idle Friday and host New Orleans on Saturday.

"We got off to a great start, shot the ball extremely well, moved the ball well, maintained a double-digit lead pretty much throughout," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Eddie and Jason were on fire with 10 3s, Shaq dominated inside ... we've just got to keep the thing going."

Ron Artest had his first double-double in more than a month with 32 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento, which dropped its fifth straight. Mike Bibby scored 21 points and Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 18 for the Kings.

Kevin Martin, who was averaging 25.8 points in his last 10 games, finished with nine on 3-for-9 shooting for Sacramento, which has lost seven straight against the Heat.

"They're the team we have to measure ourselves up against," Artest said. "They're the defending champs, so that's our measuring stick right now."

James Posey added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, and Udonis Haslem added 11 points -- his fourth straight game in double figures.

Jones went 5-for-6 and Williams 5-for-9 from 3-point range for Miami, which shot a season-best 62 percent (13-for-21) from beyond the arc.

"Give Miami a ton of credit," Kings coach Eric Musselman said. "They spaced the floor with their 3-point shooting and put us in a tough position early."

Miami improved to 10-2 since reigning NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade dislocated his left shoulder, and 16-4 since Jones -- who started the year in Memphis -- returned for his second stint with the Heat.

And Riley is calling Jones' homecoming a "godsend," with good reason.

He's averaged 16.1 points on 53 percent shooting in his last seven games, hitting double digits in all but one of those contests.

"How quickly people forget the type of players we've got in this locker room," Haslem said. "We've got guys who've made All-Stars, who've made a lot of money and had great careers in this league and can still make plays. ... And this is the situation they're used to being in."

Jones had eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, during a 15-0 first-quarter run by Miami, which led 24-17 after the opening period. Another big spurt -- a 25-12 burst to open the second quarter -- gave the Heat a 49-27 edge with 6:01 left until halftime, before the Kings began chipping away.

Artest had nine points in a 3½-minute stretch late in the second, helping Sacramento get to 56-45 at intermission. And when Artest hit a 3-pointer early in the third, the Kings were within 57-48 -- but the Heat went back to the long ball to answer.

Williams hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to double digits 13 seconds after Artest connected, and the Heat went 5-for-9 from behind the arc in the third to take an 84-70 lead into the fourth. Miami's lead stayed in double figures until the final 1:57, and the winning streak continued.

"Guys are contributing all over the place," Jones said. "That's team basketball right there. And we're playing team basketball probably better than anybody right now."

Notes

  • Since acquiring O'Neal, Miami is 40-1 at home in February and March.
  • Heat guard Gary Payton strained his right groin in the second quarter and wasn't available for the second half, which meant Quinn played for the second time in Miami's last 10 games. Quinn checked in early in the fourth quarter for Williams, who'd played 18 straight minutes.
  • Artest leaped over courtside fans and trotted up a few stairs after knocking a pass away in the third quarter.
  • The Kings haven't won in Miami since Dec. 9, 2001.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The Diesel grabs just four boards but scores a team-high 23 for the scorching Heat.  (Getty Images)
The Diesel grabs just four boards but scores a team-high 23 for the scorching Heat. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Sacramento (28-37) 1728252797
Miami (36-29) «24322819103
SAC:R. Artest 32 Pts
SAC:R. Artest 11 Reb
SAC:R. Artest 4 Ast
MIA:S. O'Neal 23 Pts
MIA:J. Posey 11 Reb
MIA:J. Williams 5 Ast
Players of the Game
MiamiSacramento

S. O'Neal

R. Artest
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
234332114
Sacramento
R. Artest, SF399-1710-13114432
S. Abdur-Rahim, C388-111-271318
M. Bibby, PG368-150-043121
K. Martin, SG363-93-42329
B. Miller, C332-50-05354
J. Salmons, SF191-40-00122
C. Williamson, PF182-83-41127
F. Garcia, SG100-21-10111
J. Williams, PF71-31-44043
R. Price, PG40-00-01000
V. Potapenko, CDid Not Play
K. Thomas, PFDid Not Play
Q. Douby, PGDid Not Play
Totals 34-7419-2835172497
 45.9%67.9% 
Miami
J. Williams, PG377-120-035119
E. Jones, SG367-90-032319
S. O'Neal, C358-167-1443323
U. Haslem, PF342-77-1071311
J. Posey, SF305-64-5111316
A. Walker, PF263-80-04437
D. Wright, SF162-30-04244
A. Mourning, C121-40-21112
G. Payton, PG80-00-00010
C. Quinn, PG61-10-00002
M. Doleac, CDid Not Play
J. Kapono, SFDid Not Play
D. Wade, PGDid Not Play
E. Barron, CDid Not Play
W. Simien, PFDid Not Play
Totals 36-6618-31371922103
 54.5%58.1% 
Other Games
LAC 102 Final
Char 93
Utah 88 Final
Phi 89
Hou 114 Final
Tor 100
NO 92 Final
NY 90
Bos 101 Final
Dal 106
Det 105 Final
Pho 83
Min 86 Final
GS 106
Port 111 Final
LAL 116