Heat 101, Wizards 81
The Heat, with their starting lineup intact for the stretch run, ran their season-best winning streak to five Sunday with a 101-81 victory over the Wizards.
Dwyane Wade scored 22 points to lead six Heat players in double figures as Miami broke a three-game road losing streak and held on to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat have been playing better since their starting five got healthy six games ago, and this victory was truly a communal affair. Six different players scored the first 14 points of a 31-9 run that began late in the first half.
“I don’t know why that is—because we call plays for only three guys, but somehow the other guys end up scoring,” coach Stan Van Gundy said.
“They get points in transition. They get points on the offensive glass. We move the ball; we’re a pretty unselfish team. Even when we’re calling a play for somebody, they’ll end up making a play to somebody else. It’s certainly not my play calling or my offensive genius.”
Meanwhile, Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas sprained his right ankle—in the very game in which shooting guard Larry Hughes returned from a broken left wrist. Coach Eddie Jordan told reporters before the game to rub rabbits’ feet and say prayers that Arenas, Hughes and Jerry Stackhouse will all finally be healthy together for an extended time, but it was to no avail.
“I guess it was my turn to get hurt this time,” said Arenas, wearing a protective boot on his foot. “Everybody took their share, and I guess it was my turn in line, so here I am.”
Arenas was hurt in the first quarter, but he played through the pain and committed four turnovers and didn’t score in 22 minutes. He said he will miss Tuesday’s game at Utah at least, with the hope of returning for Thursday’s game at the Clippers.
Sunday marked just the fourth game all season that Arenas, Hughes and Jerry Stackhouse—the team’s three leading scorers—have played together. Stackhouse has missed most of the season with knee problems, while Arenas had a lengthy layoff with an abdominal injury.
“One guy gets healthy; the next guy goes down,” said Steve Blake, who scored a career-high 21 points filling in for Arenas.
Etan Thomas had a career-high 16 rebounds for the Wizards, who committed 21 turnovers and failed yet again to get their first three-game winning streak of the season. Washington had won two straight after losing seven in a row.
Hughes, who missed 19 games with the wrist injury, missed his first eight shots before finishing with eight points on 3-for-14 shooting. Kwame Brown was also quiet after two of the best games of his career. Brown had 57 points and 30 rebounds combined against Sacramento and Atlanta, but he finished with just six points against the Heat.
Blake scored nine points in a 16-0 run that put the Wizards ahead 29-17 early in the second quarter, but Odom scored the first two baskets in a 14-4 spurt that tied the game a few minutes later.
Udonis Haslem made a jumper and a layup to start a 12-2 run that gave the Heat a 49-40 lead at the half.
Among the various Heat contributions: Haslem made all five of his shots in the second quarter, while Lamar Odom and Wade were a combined 6-for-7 in the third. Eddie Jones was just 2-for-9 at halftime, but he kept shooting and finished with 16 points, making five of 18 attempts.
The Heat have won by an average of 16.4 points during their winning streak.
“You can tell when this team starts turning it on that it’s going,” center Brian Grant said. “It’s revving. Because when the engine starts revving that’s when Stan starts putting the gas on even harder and saying, ‘Let’s go. Let’sgo.’ And rightfully so, because we’ve been successful at it as of late.”
Miami improved to 15-7 with Wade, Jones, Odom, Grant and Butler in the starting lineup. … The Heat improved to 9-25 on the road, where they play five of their next seven. … Miami swept the season series 4-0. … The Wizards are 1-19 against Atlantic Division teams. … Hughes was activated from the injured list before the game. To make room, the Wizards placed forwardLonny Baxter on the injured list with right knee tendinitis