Even with Dwyane Wade fighting both foul trouble and the flu, the Heat made it 16 in a row over the Wizards on Saturday night. Anderson scored 20 points in his best game since joining Miami in February, and Shaquille O’Neal had 27 points and 10 rebounds in a 99-86 victory.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Dwayne Wade under control from our team,” Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. “And yet they still prevailed.”
The Heat trailed by 12 in the first quarter, but from then on there was no stopping O’Neal and Anderson, who were a lethal inside-outside combination in place of the usual O’Neal-Wade. O’Neal went 13-for-16 from the field, and Anderson made five 3-pointers and had four assists and two steals.
“I’m getting there,” said Anderson, who was sidelined much of the season with a calf injury before being traded by Houston on Feb. 23. “I’m getting in shape and my defense is getting better. You forget I was out two-and-a-half months, and then coming into a system with, like, three days of practice. I’ve been here nine years, so it ain’t like I don’t know what I’m doing. I just have to figure out how to get it done.”
Gary Payton added 13 points, and Udonis Haslem had 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, whose domination of the Wizards includes 12 straight regular-season games and a four-game sweep in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
Wade scored 11 points in only 21 foul-plagued minutes, but he did enough to set a Miami franchise record with 76 consecutive games scoring in double digits. Wade had missed the shootaround with the flu and a 101- degree temperature.
The Heat, holding second place in the Eastern Conference, entered the game on a 1-3 slide.
“Sometimes we play the caliber of a good team, and sometimes we don’t know what we’re doing out there,” O’Neal said, “so we have to develop some type of playoff-mentality-like chemistry. The playoffs will be here soon, and New Jersey is on our tail so we just want to try to maintain our lead and maintain the spot.”
Two players battling injuries—Gilbert Arenas and Antonio Daniels—were the only Wizards in double figures. Arenas scored 30 points, and Daniels had a season-high 25. They accounted for 48 of their team’s 63 points through three quarters.
Arenas played despite spraining a muscle in his lower back sprain in Friday’s loss at Atlanta. Daniels was a game-time decision after missing Friday’s game with a sprained left wrist.
“It’s hurting,” said Arenas, who vowed to keep playing until the Wizards clinch the fifth seed in the playoffs. “Maybe we can get it to 80 percent before the next game.”
Antawn Jamison struggled for the second straight game, shooting 4-for-18 from the field to finish with eight points. Caron Butler (sprained right thumb) and Etan Thomas (lower back pain) did not play, and the Wizards didn’t get a single point from their bench until Calvin Booth hit a pair of baskets early in the fourth quarter.
Washington had its lead over sixth-place Milwaukee cut to two games.
“Their bench really did a good job, especially Derek Anderson. We didn’t have anybody to really counter him,” Jordan said. “Gilbert did a terrific job, Antonio did a terrific job, we just didn’t have that third, fourth scorer for us.”
In the first quarter, it appeared the Wizards had found the karma needed to emphatically put away their nemesis. Wade got in early foul trouble, the Heat committed seven turnovers, Arenas tossed in a hopeful 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer, and Daniels hopped several times on one leg to keep his balance after making a 3 that gave Washington a 29-17 lead.
But the second and third quarters were all Heat, led by Anderson and O’Neal. The Wizards started 1-for-11 in the second quarter, while Anderson made a pair of 3-pointers, stole an inbounds pass and had two assists in a 22-9 run that gave Miami a 49-38 lead.
In the third quarter, Anderson stole an outlet pass and fed O’Neal for a dunk as part of an 8-2 run that gave the Heat a 71-59 lead. Washington didn’t get within single digits again.
Wade’s double-digit streak started late last season, on April 15 against Philadelphia. Alonzo Mourning held the old Heat record. … Butler missed his second straight game and is day-to-day, but coach Eddie Jordan said Thomas has felt discomfort for at least a week and could miss another week. Thomas left in the first half of Friday night’s game against Atlanta and did not return.