Wade leads Heat over Wizards in Game 1
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and handed out seven
assists to lead the Miami Heat to a convincing 105-86 win over the Washington
Wizards in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at
Shaquille O’Neal ended with 19 points and seven boards before fouling out for
the Heat, who will try and take a 2-0 series lead when they host Game 2 of the
best-of-seven set Tuesday night.
“I thought Shaq played very well,” said Miami head coach Stan Van Gundy. “He
looked strong and balanced and I think he did a very, very good job. We need
to keep him out of foul trouble, though, and part of that is by taking care of
Keyon Dooling, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Sunday, scored a playoff
career-high 15 points off the bench, while Eddie Jones contributed 12 in the
O’Neal, who finished a close second in the MVP voting to Phoenix guard Steve
Nash, saw only 26 minutes of action due to early foul trouble.
Miami, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, played for the first time since
last Sunday when it completed a four-game sweep of New Jersey in the first
round of the playoffs.
Washington, meanwhile, had just finished its opening-round series against
the Bulls on Friday. The fifth-seeded Wizards fell behind 0-2 in
their quarterfinal set versus Chicago before rallying to claim the final
four games and win the franchise’s first postseason series since 1982.
Gilbert Arenas poured in a game-high 25 points and had six steals on Sunday
for Washington, which has lost nine straight games to the Heat, including
all five this season. Larry Hughes chipped in 23 points and grabbed seven
boards for the Wizards.
“We have a locker room full of guys who love a challenge,” said Hughes. We
have been down, but we are not out. We can definitely win a basketball game
any day we step out there. This season the Heat have beaten us pretty well,
but we never fell like we cannot win a game.”
The Heat held a commanding 36-5 edge from their bench and shot a blistering 52
percent from the floor for the game (43-of-82). Washington made only 37
percent of its attempts (28-of-76) and was outscored 52-38 in the paint.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well,” said Washington head coach Eddie Jordan.
“They do protect their paint very well, however I thought we got some
good second chance opportunities, and we just felt a little bit tight. You
could just tell.”
Miami led by two points at the intermission, but began the third period on an
11-3 run, keyed by five points from Jones, to widen its lead to 60-50 with
9:07 left in the quarter. The Wizards briefly closed to within three points,
but that was as close as they would get.
The Heat used a 20-5 spurt over the remainder of the frame despite playing
without O’Neal for the majority of the period. Miami’s dominant center picked
up his fourth foul of the game with around eight minutes remaining in the
third and did not see the floor until the fourth.
Washington was outscored 33-17 in the third quarter and the Heat went into the
final stanza with a commanding 82-64 lead.
“In the third quarter my teammates told me to stay aggressive no matter what
comes, and that is what I did,” said Wade, who had 11 points in the period.
“I came out and stayed aggressive and hit a couple of shots and got myself
Miami led by as many as 21 points in the final period.
The Heat improved to 50-0 this season, including playoffs, when leading by
double-digits entering the fourth.
The Wizards led by two points midway through the first quarter, but Miami
responded by closing out the period on a 15-5 surge, to claim a 26-18
advantage after one. During the late run, Dooling scored five points while
O’Neal contributed nine in the quarter.
The Heat led 30-22 early in the second before they exploded for a 9-0 surge to
open up a 17-point lead. Rasual Butler’s three-pointer with 7:25 left in the
half capped the flurry and made it 39-22.
However, Washington refused to go away as it answered with 11 straight points,
highlighted by four from Hughes and a three by Arenas, to pull within 39-33
with just over four minutes remaining in the period. Antawn Jamison’s
fastbreak layup with 3:23 left brought the Wizards within five and Washington
eventually cut the deficit to just two at 49-47 at the intermission.
O’Neal had 15 points for Miami, which made 51 percent of its shots in the
first half. Jamison netted 13 points and grabbed seven boards for the Wizards,
who connected on only 37 percent of their attempts, but stayed in the game
courtesy of 14 free throws in the opening 24 minutes.
The Heat were 12-of-23 from the foul line while Washington made 26-of-36 from
the charity stripe…Miami is appearing in the conference semifinals for the
fourth time in franchise history as it also reached this point in 1997, 2000
and 2004. The Heat, though, have only gotten past this round once as they beat
the New York Knicks in seven games in 1997….Including its three home wins in
the playoffs, Miami is a dominant 38-6 in it own building this year…Miami’s
4-0 series win over the Nets was the team’s first-ever sweep in a best-of-
seven set…Washington eliminated the Nets in the first round of the 1982
postseason…The Wizards have lost five straight Game 1s of a playoff
series…Washington has not beaten the Heat since April 11, 2003…This is the
first-ever postseason meeting between the teams…Jamison left the game in the
second half with a sore knee, but the injury was not deemed serious and he was
available to come back if needed. He finished with 13 points and eight
rebounds in 32 minutes.