Heat, Hawks Win in East: In Battle of Hardaways, Tim Outduels Penny at End
Hughes, Frank, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
MIAMI - The Miami Heat did it the Hardaway.
HEAT91MAGIC83 Having a horrific shooting day in the deciding game of the Heat's first-round playoff series with the Orlando Magic, the Heat's All-Star point guard hit two straight key baskets in the final 45 seconds to propel his team to a 91-83 victory before 15,200 fans, giving the Heat a 3-2 series win and their first-ever appearance in the second round of the postseason.
The Heat will face the New York Knicks in a showdown between their coach, Pat Riley, and his former team. Game 1 will be here Wednesday night at 7.
Yesterday's game was very much like this entire series. The Heat dismantled the Magic in the first two games, only to watch Orlando come back and win Games 3 and 4.
Yesterday, Miami got out to a 16-point fourth-quarter lead, only to watch Orlando come sprinting back and draw within four points, 84-80, with 1:06 left to play.
Hardaway, who came into the game hitting just 31 percent of his shots in the series, had missed 15 of 18 to that point, but Riley told the team to spread the floor and allow Hardaway to do his thing. Hardaway began to penetrate on the first shot, but pulled up and hit a 20-footer off the right side for an 86-80 Miami lead with 43.3 seconds left.
Orlando's own Hardaway, Anfernee, then hit a 3-pointer, his 33rd point, to get to 86-83 with 35.6 seconds left. But Tim Hardaway came back down and matched Penny's 3-pointer with one of his own from the top of the key, giving Miami an 89-83 lead with 14.1 seconds left and sending the usually laconic Miami Arena into a previously unseen frenzy.
"Tim Hardaway is a courageous player," Riley said. "He didn't shoot the ball well at all in this series. . . . It didn't amaze me, though. Great players . . . when it counts the most . . . he made the two biggest shots of the series for us. He was going to make the play one way or the other."
Said Tim Hardaway: "The rest of the game I didn't make anything, but you've got to just try, try, try. I shoot them all the time and they just went in. …