WASHINGTON (AP)—The franchise-record parade of 3-pointers began when James Jones kept finding himself all alone in the corner in the early minutes of the fourth quarter.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Three long jumpers in less than 2 minutes, and a one-point lead was up to nine. Soon Michael Beasley, Dwyane Wade and Yakhouba Diawara joined the fun, contributing to a Miami Heat mark for 3s in a quarter in Saturday night’s 118-104 victory over the Washington Wizards.
The Heat went 8-for-13 from 3-point range over the final 12 minutes and 14-for-32 for the game. Maybe it’s something about playing the Wizards—because the previous two times they had made seven in a quarter came at Washington, the last time exactly a year ago on April 4, 2008.
“I got to my spot in the corner and the guys found me,” said Jones, who matched his season-high with 13 points. “That’s what they brought me here to do, and I was just glad that I was able to make some shots.”
The Heat found him, but the Wizards didn’t. After watching his team mount several comebacks to make the game competitive, interim coach Ed Tapscott couldn’t believe no one was paying attention to the open guy.
“When we called timeout finally, I said, ‘Fellows, James Jones is a shooter and he’s in the corner. If anybody would like to find him, we’d be delighted,”’ Tapscott said.
Wade scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers in the fourth, as the Heat remained a game behind the fifth-place Philadelphia 76ers in the jostle for postseason seeding in the Eastern Conference. Miami also completed a 4-0 season sweep of the Wizards, who finished 1-15 against the Southeast Division.
“I love to see James Jones shoot the ball that way,” Wade said. “That’s going to be really big for us in the playoffs, especially having him and Diawara on the floor at the same time to spread it.”
Having clinched a playoff berth the night before, the Heat never trailed against the worst team in the East and had a bit of celebratory flavor to their fast breaks, 3-pointers and alley-oops—which no doubt contributed to several careless turnovers and an inability to put away the pesky Wizards until late. Wade even went behind his back twice in one move—seemingly getting away with a travel—when feeding Mario Chalmers for a layup in the first quarter.
There were frequent chants of “M-V-P!” from visiting fans when Wade was at the free-throw line—which happened quite often. He was 7-for-13 from the field and 15-for-17 from the foul line. He also finished with eight assists, five rebounds and six turnovers.
Caron Butler scored 27 points, and Antawn Jamison had 23 to lead the Wizards, who were without Gilbert Arenas as part of the three-time All-Star’s plan to play in selected games during his comeback from knee surgery. Arenas played 33 minutes in Thursday’s emotional win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Saturday’s game seemed anticlimactic by comparison.
“We didn’t seem to have the energy,” Tapscott said. “It looked like we were running in the sand a little bit early.”
Brendan Haywood, in his third game after returning from wrist surgery, scored the Wizards’ first 10 points and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Miami scored the game’s first seven points, setting the stage for a simple pattern the game followed the rest of the way. The Heat would build a lead, then let up and allow the Wizards back in it. Washington rallied from 11 down to tie in the first half, then later cut an 18-point lead to six, an 11-point lead to two and a seven-point lead to one—before Miami’s 3-point barrage settled the game.
“Diawara, Dwayne Wade were hitting 3s from nowhere,” Haywood said. “James Jones, those guys are good 3-point shooters—you don’t think of them as great 3-point shooters, and they couldn’t miss tonight.”
Washington G Nick Young sprained his left knee early in the first quarter, grimacing as his leg buckled while wrestling Jamaal Magloire for the ball. He did not return and will have an MRI on Sunday or Monday. “We don’t think it’s serious,” Tapscott said. “But I’ll let the doctors tell us.” … Young said superstition kept Arenas out of the game. It was exactly two years to the day that Arenas first hurt his knee in a game against Charlotte. “I think he put a jinx on me,” Young said. “He was talking about that all day.” … Wizards G Juan Dixon aggravated an Achilles’ tendon injury. “He probably shouldn’t have played,” Tapscott said. “I don’t know how much we’re going to be able to use him for the rest of the year.” … Butler surpassed the 8,000-point mark for his career. … Javaris Crittenton, who missed Thursday’s game with back spasms, started in place of Arenas and had a career-high eight assists.