- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade had a day for the ages. So did the rest of the Miami Heat.

Wade finished with 50 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, Jermaine O’Neal added 28 points and eight rebounds, and the Heat pulled off two huge last-ditch rallies before beating the Utah Jazz in a triple-overtime epic, 140-29 on Saturday afternoon.

The Heat erased a seven-point deficit in the final 55 seconds of regulation to force the extra period, then gave up the first eight points of the first overtime before roaring back again.

The second overtime had five ties, the last coming when Deron Williams hit a jumper with 3.4 seconds left.

But the Jazz wouldn’t take the lead again, and Wade sealed it with a pair of foul shots with 44.4 seconds left _ tying his career-high in scoring on a day when he passed Alonzo Mourning to become the franchise’s leading scorer, and set new bests in field goals made (19) and attempted (39).

Mario Chalmers scored 23 points for Miami, which shot 35-for-39 from the foul line and moved a season-high seven games over .500 (36-29). The Heat also got back within 1 1/2 games of Atlanta for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and improved to 5-0 in overtime this season.

Williams scored 30 points and had 13 assists for the Jazz, who also got a season-high 25 points from Kyle Korver, along with seven rebounds and six assists. Carlos Boozer finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz.

“We made them work for everything,” Wade said. “It was a total team effort.”

It was just the third triple-overtime game in Heat history, the first coming Nov. 20, 1992, at Philadelphia, where Miami will play on Sunday to start a stretch of nine road matchups in their next 12 games.

Utah seemed on the cusp of winning twice, first in regulation, then again in the first overtime.

Of course, by the time the game ended, those leads seemed like distant memories.

In regulation, the Jazz led 107-100 with 55 seconds left, before getting outscored 7-0 in the final moments. Chalmers made two free throws, Wade found Udonis Haslem for a dunk on the next Miami possession, and suddenly it was 107-104. O’Neal blocked a dunk by Paul Millsap at the other end, and James Jones made three free throws in the final 16.3 seconds.

Williams had a chance to win it at the buzzer of regulation, but missed a 20-footer over Wade.

They were just getting started.

The first overtime began with Korver and Mehmet Okur each making a 3-pointer from the left corner in the opening minutes, and the Jazz were up 115-107 with 1:45 left. Back came Miami _ Wade found O’Neal for a basket inside, scored the next four points himself, and Haslem tied it with two free throws with 22.1 seconds remaining.

The early start _ 11 a.m. for those watching in Salt Lake City _ did nothing to slow the Jazz.

Utah made 12 of its first 18 shots and ran out to a 29-19 lead after the first quarter, in which it outrebounded Miami 14-6 and held the Heat to 38 percent shooting.

Andrei Kirilenko scored the first basket of the second quarter for a 31-19 Utah lead, which was significant: The Jazz hadn’t lost any game this season in which they led by more than 10 points.

Slowly, the Heat clawed back.

Wade scored 10 points in the second quarter and Miami got within two points twice, before Ronnie Brewer’s score with 2.6 seconds left gave Utah a 55-51 lead at the half.

Wade scored 10 more in the third, the Heat scored 32 points for the second straight quarter, and took an 83-80 lead into the final period.

Little did anyone know at that point, the game was really just beginning.

Notes:@ A pregame moment of silence was held to remember Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson, who died Friday. His death came less than a month after longtime Jazz owner Larry Miller died following complications related to diabetes. … O’Neal has already taken 10 charges since being traded to Miami, which tied him with Mario Chalmers for second-most on the Heat this season. … Korver has scored at least 16 points six times this season, with four of those coming in the last month.

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