Heat 103, Wizards 93

Preview | Box Score | Recap

MIAMI (AP)—Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat are off to the best start in franchise history.

O’Neal had 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and Dwyane Wade had 22 points and nine assists in a 103-93 win over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.

Udonis Haslem added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which moved to 4-0 for the first time in club history and won a team-record 14th straight regular-season home game dating to last season. Yet what riled the Heat was the way they allowed the Wizards to come back after trailing by 29.

“We’ve got to stay consistent with our defense at all times,” said O’Neal, who added four assists but also was charged with nine turnovers. “We had a 29-point lead and only won the game by 10. We can’t let that happen.”

Gilbert Arenas scored 20 points for Washington, which lost to the Heat for the second time in four nights and failed to score 100 points for the first time this season.

Antawn Jamison finished with 14, well off the 27.3-point average he carried into the game.

“We were bad on offense,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We couldn’t make a shot, couldn’t make a play.”

Haslem and Wade combined to score 25 of Miami’s 37 points in the third quarter, when the Heat led by as many as 24. The lead grew even more before Washington outscored Miami 28-9 over the final 9:17.

“We need to learn how to close the game,” Heat guard Eddie Jones said.

Wade shot 7-for-11 from the field and sat out all but three minutes of the fourth quarter. So far this season, Wade, who’s averaging 27 points and eight assists, has connected on 57.4 percent of his shots, a 10.9 percent improvement over his rookie year.

Damon Jones added 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers, for Miami, which made 51.9 percent of its shots; Washington connected on only 43.2 percent and committed 20 turnovers that led to 21 Miami points.

“I was happy with our defense for large parts of the game,” Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Every coach in the league is fighting it: We’ve got to master 48 minutes all the time, same effort no matter who’s in the game, and we didn’t do that at the end.”

Larry Hughes’ jumper with 5:22 left in the opening quarter put Washington up 13-11, but the Wizards missed 10 straight shots over the next 7:33 and never led again. Wade scored five points in a 13-3 burst that gave Miami a 24-16 lead.

A flurry of 3-pointers—in a 69-second span, Arenas hit a pair and Juan Dixon added one—drew Washington to 26-25 with 8:40 left in the half.

Miami, though, closed the half on a 24-12 burst, with Keyon Dooling scoring his first six points of the season and Haslem adding five, including a three-point play with 14.4 seconds left that pushed Miami’s lead to 50-35.

Wizards center Brendan Haywood said the Heat are clearly enjoying having O’Neal around.

“They give it to the big fella,” Haywood said, “and he makes it easy for them.”

Notes

Haywood played for the first time this season, finishing with four points and seven rebounds. He was suspended for three games after fighting in a preseason game against Chicago. … Miami trailed for 4 minutes, 44 seconds in the opening quarter; the Heat trailed a total of 18 seconds in their first three games combined. … Dooling played 11 first-half minutes, nearly twice his season total entering the game. … O’Neal went 4-for-10 from the foul line — raising his season percentage to 30.0.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Washington
G. Arenas G. Arenas
7-14,  20 Pts
0 Rebs, 6 Assists
 Miami
D. Wade D. Wade
7-11,  22 Pts
4 Rebs, 9 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists