Even Miami's most lopsided win of the season wasn't enough to impress Shaquille O'Neal.
Dwyane Wade had 18 points and seven assists, and the Heat built a 25-point first-quarter lead on the way to an easy 97-68 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.
Damon Jones had 13 points and five assists, and O'Neal added 12 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat (30-12), who won for the third time in seven games and improved to 9-9 against teams from the West.
"This really isn't a game we really should be proud of," O'Neal said. "This game is like taking your kids to the zoo. ... You're supposed to take your kids to the zoo. You're a father. So a team like that, we're supposed to beat them like this."
Any intrigue from the first matchup between the teams since the Heat beat the Hornets in Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference quarterfinals was gone early.
New Orleans hit its first two shots, taking a 5-2 lead before the onslaught began. Miami, which made its first seven shots, scored 14 straight points to open what became a 29-4 run over a 9-minute stretch.
"We knew they were going to come after us," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We prepared our guys and told them what they were going to do. We just didn't react very well to them. We put ourselves in a hole, and you can't climb out of a hole that deep." http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/3346906