The Los Angeles Lakers are returning home after another hugely successful road trip, this one almost as impressive as the last one.
Shaquille O'Neal had eight points and a dazzling assist during a 22-2 run that put Los Angeles ahead to stay, and the Lakers won 100-89 at Miami on Monday night in their final Eastern Conference road game of the season.
Less than a month ago, the Lakers returned home 6-0 from a road trip to the East. Then they left for another trip, and this one ended 4-1.
The Lakers, playing their fourth game in five nights, survived a slow start to win for the 22nd time in 23 games.
''This team is making me a believer,'' coach Phil Jackson said. ''They're making me look good.''
In other NBA games, Philadelphia edged Charlotte 102-96, Phoenix downed Boston 110-106, Orlando outlasted Chicago 88-86 in overtime, Cleveland topped Houston 98-85 and Washington beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-93.
O'Neal blocked Alonzo Mourning's shot three straight times early in the second half to spark the pivotal spurt by the Lakers. They overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to snap Miami's franchise-record 13-game home winning streak.
It was O'Neal's shot-blocking that reversed the momentum.
''That gave them a sense of power,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said.
''I had to pick up my defense,'' O'Neal said, ''and I did.''
Otherwise, Mourning more than held his own in the matchup of All-Star centers, finishing with 33 points and 13 rebounds. O'Neal had 28 points and 12 rebounds.
The Heat played short-handed up front because of injuries to forward P.J Brown (sprained ankle) and Otis Thorpe (foot). Miami compensated by shooting 56 percent for a 55-42 lead at halftime, and O'Neal had just 12 points in 17 minutes because of foul trouble.
76ers 102, Hornets 96
Allen Iverson scored 25 points and Philadelphia withstood two second-half rallies at Charlotte.
Suns 110, Celtics 106
Clifford Robinson made six free throws in the final 1:46, helping Phoenix cut off Boston's attempts to rally.
Robinson finished with 22 points and nine rebounds as the Suns gained their fourth consecutive victory.
Jason Kidd had 16 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and Shawn Marion scored 18 points. Rodney Rogers added 17 and Penny Hardaway 13 in the balanced Suns attack.
Paul Pierce scored 27 points and Antoine Walker 22 for the Celtics.
Magic 88, Bulls 86, OT
Ron Mercer hit the go-ahead jumper with 48 seconds left in overtime, and Orlando survived two last-second misses to end a three-game losing streak by winning at Chicago.
The Bulls had a chance tie in the closing seconds, but Chris Carr's short shot and Elton Brand's follow missed as Chicago lost for the 15th time in 16 games.
Cavaliers 98, Rockets 85
At Cleveland, the Cavaliers pulled away early in the fourth quarter to snap a six-game losing streak and extend Houston's slump to eight games.
Wizards 105, Clippers 93
Mitch Richmond scored 13 of his 21 points in the third quarter, and Washington's reserves outscored the Clippers' 61-24.
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