"Just one of those days," he said.
There really was no other explanation, other than the Orlando Magic playing perhaps one of their most inspired games in weeks.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 11 of his 20 points in the first quarter, Dwight Howard added 17 points and 11 rebounds and the Magic ended Miami's nine-game winning streak with a 97-83 victory Sunday night. It snapped the Heat's run of 14 straight home victories, and got Orlando within a half-game of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"A statement game," Magic guard J.J. Redick called it. "We pretty much beat them from start to finish."
He's pretty much right.
Miami led for 2½ minutes in the early going before Orlando built a double-digit lead and held it for the final 37 minutes. It was 28-16 after one quarter, 55-37 at halftime, and never really in doubt from there.
"They jumped on us pretty quick, we made a lot of mistakes and they shot the ball well," O'Neal said. "Usually we get out of holes, but we couldn't today. It happens like that every now and then."
Heat coach Pat Riley was more succinct.
"We just got rolled," Riley said.
O'Neal scored 20 points, James Posey had 14 and Jason Williams added 10 points and six assists for Miami, which is 0-3 against the Magic this season and fell one game behind Washington in the Southeast Division.
It was only Miami's second loss in 42 home games during February and March since O'Neal was acquired three years ago. Miami shot a season-best 62 percent from 3-point range Friday against Sacramento, but missed 18 of 22 tries from that distance Sunday.
"Sometimes things just don't go your way," said Eddie Jones, who was averaging 16.1 points in his last seven games but was held to five on 2-for-5 shooting. "This is just one of those nights where we couldn't do anything correctly."
It was a critical win for Orlando (31-37), one of four teams -- Indiana, New Jersey and New York are the others -- battling for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Orlando started the day 10th in the East, but moved within a half-game of the Nets and Pacers.
"This was a great win," Turkoglu said. "Hopefully it will give us confidence so that we can learn from it and move ahead."
Turkoglu had just two points in a loss to Sacramento on Saturday, and didn't appear in the second half against the Kings because of illness. But he was apparently feeling fine on Sunday, hitting 5 of 8 shots in the opening quarter as Orlando built a 28-16 lead.
Miami closed the gap to 44-34 when Antoine Walker hit a 3-pointer -- the first for the Heat in six tries -- with 3:59 left before halftime. But Walker airballed his next attempt from long range about a minute later, and Turkoglu hit a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in the half to give the Magic then their biggest lead, 55-37.
And the Heat never made much of a run from there. Posey and Williams hit 3-pointers in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter to trim the Miami deficit to 55-43, but Orlando's cushion got no smaller.
"A really good win," Magic coach Brian Hill said.
- Miami's winning streak was the longest current one in the NBA. Cleveland now has the distinction, at eight games.
- Howard was 6-for-6 from the floor, including one credited field goal when a pass from Turkoglu hit the backboard and caromed in off his arm.
- Patrick Ewing sat adjacent to the Miami bench, across the court from Gladys Knight, who performed at a Heat charity event Saturday night at O'Neal's home. Rapper/actor Ice Cube was also in attendance.
- Michael Doleac made two free throws with 3:40 left in the third quarter, the Heat backup center's first trip to the foul line since Feb. 9.
- Redick reached double figures for only the seventh time this season.