Washington (30-29) at Miami (39-20)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Miami, FL
Temp: 83° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Wed Mar 8, 2006
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After gift-wrapping a win to celebrate his 34th birthday, Shaquille O’Neal tries to lead the Miami Heat to an 11th consecutive victory over the Washington Wizards and a 10th straight win overall.

O’Neal accounted for all of Miami’s offense in the overtime of a 106-105 win Tuesday over the Charlotte Bobcats. After missing five fourth-quarter free throws, O’Neal atoned by making four baskets in overtime and pulling down three of his 12 rebounds.

“In overtime, I told the guys, `Just bring it to me,”’ O’Neal said. “We were messing around the whole game, so I just told the guys to keep coming to me. And they did.”

Regardless of where he has played, O’Neal has almost always been victorious against the Wizards. He has a 27-4 lifetime record against them, averaging 26.9 points and 12.8 rebounds.

The Heat won despite guard Dwyane Wade missing his second straight game with a sprained right wrist. Wade, who averaged 31.0 points and 6.6 assists in the first seven games of the winning streak, is questionable for this game.

While Derek Anderson started in Wade’s place, fellow guard Jason Williams matched his season high with 24 points. He also scored 24 points Nov. 25 and Feb. 22.

The winning streak is the Heat’s longest since a 12-game run from Feb. 26-March 19 of last season.

Washington has not defeated Miami since a 91-87 victory April 11, 2003, and needs a win to avoid falling 10 games behind the Heat with 22 to play. The Wizards lost for the fifth time in six games Tuesday, falling 116-115 in overtime to the Boston Celtics on a buzzer-beating jumper by Paul Pierce.

“We wanted to win this game in the worst way,” said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. “Its a tough, tough loss but we have to deal with it and get ready for Miami (Wednesday).”

Gilbert Arenas scored 39 points, including nine in overtime for Washington. He had given the Wizards a 115-114 lead with a pull-up jumper with 14 seconds to play before Pierce’s heroics.

Arenas has averaged 33.3 points in his last eight games, but the guard is 1-10 lifetime against the Heat, averaging just 20.4 points in those games.

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