ATLANTA – Jason Williams scored 21 points to help the Miami Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks 96-74 on Wednesday night for their first road victory of the season.

The Heat, who began a five-game road trip, improved to 8-5 since losing Shaquille O’Neal to a sprained ankle.

The win over the Hawks was especially important for the Southeast Division-leading Heat, who play nine of their next 11 games on the road. O’Neal, who watched from the Miami bench, is not expected to return before the end of the five-game trip.

The Hawks, in last place in the Southeast, set a new scoring low for the season.

Dwyane Wade had 20 points – all in the second and third periods. Alonzo Mourning had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Gary Payton had 13 points off the bench for Miami.

A basket with 9:45 left by Zaza Pachulia, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds, pulled the Hawks to within seven points at 72-65. Following a Miami timeout, Shandon Anderson scored on a drive down the baseline, and the Heat kept the lead in double figures for the rest of the game.

Al Harrington added 16 points for the Hawks. Joe Johnson had 13 points.

After scoring only 34 second-half points in Tuesday night’s loss at Houston, the Hawks managed only 12 first-quarter points while falling behind the Heat.

Miami led 43-34 at halftime despite only six first-half points from Wade. Having to rely too often on outside shots, the Hawks shot only 37.5 percent from the field in the half and were outscored 26-16 in the paint.

Josh Smith, who had 10 points, gave Atlanta fans a highlight with a left-handed jam over Mourning midway through the second period.

Hawks point guard Tyronn Lue was held out for the second straight game following oral surgery Monday. Royal Ivey started his first game of the season and scored eight points.

The Hawks have lost three straight since their only two wins of the season.

Notes: Suspended Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens, a part-time Atlanta resident, attended the game. As was the case at other recent appearances at Hawks game, Owens drew a loud mixture of boos and cheers when he was shown on the video board. … NL MVP runner-up Andruw Jones and Atlanta Braves teammate Rafael Furcal, a free agent, had courtside seats near Hawks vice-president Dominique Wilkins. …The Hawks used their eighth different starting lineup in 14 games.

AP-ES-11-30-05 2130EST


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