O’Neal Disappears Late in Heat Loss

From Associated Press

Coming back to his hometown just isn’t the same for Shaquille O’Neal now that he has traded purple for black.

O’Neal was a non-factor at the end of the Miami Heat’s 93-84 loss to the Spurs at San Antonio on Friday night. That was quite different too.

His last basket cut San Antonio’s lead to one point with nearly five minutes left, but the Spurs’ defense held their longtime nemesis scoreless down the stretch en route to victory.

Manu Ginobili scored 29 points for San Antonio.


When he was with the Lakers, O’Neal said, games against San Antonio always meant something.

“This is different now,” he said. “When I was in the purple and gold, it was always two teams fighting for a chance to play in the Finals and win a title.”

O’Neal, a high school star in San Antonio in the 1980s, finished with 23 points and 21 rebounds.

Twelve of his points came in the third quarter before he sat down after picking up his fourth foul.

His last hurrah was a putback with 4:44 left that pulled Miami within 77-76.

The Spurs then took control with a 13-3 run.

Rasual Butler and Udonis Haslem each scored 11 for Miami, which played without star guard Dwyane Wade, who sprained his left ankle in Thursday night’s loss in Dallas.

The victory was the 400th for Spur Coach Gregg Popovich, all with San Antonio.


Philadelphia 106, Indiana 104 -- Allen Iverson made a 14-footer as time expired in overtime and scored 15 points to lead the 76ers over the Pacers at Philadelphia.

Pacer guard Ron Artest, who was benched the previous two games after asking for time off, scored 29 points, and center Jermaine O’Neal had 39 points.

Seattle 88, Toronto 87 -- Antonio Daniels’ driving eight-foot shot with 7.2 seconds left gave the SuperSonics a victory at Seattle.

Vince Carter of the Raptors missed a driving reverse layup as time expired.


The Sonics won their fifth consecutive game after a 30-point, season-opening road loss to the Clippers.

Memphis 96, Golden State 67 -- Pau Gasol had 14 points and 11 rebounds at Memphis, Tenn., and the Grizzlies pushed the Warriors (0-6) to their worst start since losing nine in a row to begin the 1997-98 season.

Boston 91, Charlotte 74 -- Ricky Davis had 19 points and Gary Payton added 15 points at Boston as the Celtics won their third game in a row.

Atlanta 96, New Orleans 95 -- Antoine Walker scored 27 points at New Orleans and the Hawks earned their first victory of the season and kept the Hornets winless.



Forward Eddy Curry said he wanted to stay with his hometown Chicago Bulls, blaming his agents for turning his private complaints earlier this week into a public demand for a trade. “I’m not trying to go nowhere,” Curry said after the Bulls’ practice. “There’s no way I want to leave Chicago, under no circumstances. Right now, I’m just trying to get all this past me and move forward.” ... Free-agent forward Eddie Robinson failed a physical with the New York Knicks, who were set to sign him to a $1.3-million contract for the remainder of this season.