Heat 115, Kings 102
The best and worst moments of Dorell Wright's NBA career have both come in Sacramento.
Wright will certainly savor what happened Sunday night against the Kings. While heralded teammate Dwyane Wade was his usual self with 34 points and 10 assists, Wright had the breakout game he has been seeking, scoring a season-high 19 points in the Heat's 115-102 victory over the Kings.
On March 2, 2008 at Sacramento, Wright went down with a torn meniscal tear in his left knee. He missed the rest of the season, and the knee injury lingered as he only came back to play in six games a year ago.
Playing a season-high 29 minutes against the Kings, Wright took plenty of pressure off his good friend Wade. He not only ran the offense at times, he made 9 of 12 shots and had five assists - while committing zero turnovers.
``This means a lot. It felt good to go out there and just have fun,'' said Wright, who entered the game averaging 2.4 points in limited playing time. ``Even before the game I was thinking about playing here and what had happened two years ago. It's kind of ironic to come back and have a game like this.''
The Heat used a 29-19 second quarter to take control of the game and led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter.
In the fourth, the Kings cut the lead to 97-91 with 5:42 left, but Wade made a pair of jumpers and found Quentin Richardson for a 3-pointer, putting Miami ahead 104-91 with 3:56 remaining.
Afterward, Wade seemed much more pleased with Wright's play than his seventh game this season of 30 or more points.
``He was a starter two years ago and this was the place he got hurt in,'' Wade said. ``It was great that Dorell was finally given an opportunity again and was able to come through.''
Udonis Haslem had 15 points and Michael Beasley had 20, helping the Heat beat Sacramento for the 11th time in 12 games. Richardson made five 3-pointers and also had 20 points.
``I was very impressed with Miami and how together and disciplined they were both offensively and defensively,'' Kings coach Paul Westphal said. ``We couldn't find a way to make them miss and they came in our building and shot 58 percent on us. We tried a little bit of everything on them and they didn't crack at all.''
Rookie Tyreke Evans scored 30 points for the Kings, who had their four-game winning streak snapped Saturday night in Phoenix. Donte Greene scored 21 points, Omri Casspi had 14 and Beno Udrih added 11.
``No way were we taking this team lightly,'' Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. ``We have watched them closely. They are an exciting young team that plays extremely hard. We had to come with our best focus. Our starters set the tone early.''
The Kings could do little to slow down Miami and played zone defense for large portions of the second half. The Heat had a season-high 30 assists and shot 58 percent from the field.
``Wade can score and find guys at the same time,'' Greene said. ``It can be difficult (guarding him). You don't know if he is going to keep it then get to the rim or if he is going to pass it off. You just have to contain him and we didn't do a good job of that tonight.''
After a strong start to the season, the Heat entered the game having lost two straight and seven of 10. Miami was coming of a heart-wrenching loss Friday when Kobe Bryant banked in a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer for a one-point Lakers win.
When asked if the victory over Sacramento erases the memory of the loss to the Lakers, Wade offered an emphatic no.
``Never. That shot will always be in our memory,'' Wade said. ``Hopefully we use it to get mad.''
Heat starting center Jermaine O'Neal was not with the team due to a family issue.
Wade scored 16 points and Beasley had 13 in a dominating first half for Miami, which shot 57 percent and led 59-44 at the break.
NOTES: Wade's girlfriend, actress Gabriel Union, was sitting courtside. ... The Kings starting frontcourt of Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson and Andres Nocioni were a combined 1 of 12 shooting in the opening half and had eight points combined. ... Evans has scored 20 or more points in 11 of the last 13 games.