MIAMI, May 8 (Ticker) --
It took a half before Dwyane Wade
Wade came alive in the second half with Shaquille O'Neal
bench in foul trouble as the Miami Heat posted a 105-86 victory
over the Washington Wizards in the opener of the Eastern
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In the first-round sweep of New Jersey, Wade averaged 26.3
points, 8.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent
from the field. The second-year All-Star guard joined legends
Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird,
Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson as players to have averaged at
least 25.0 points, eight assists and six rebounds while making
half their shots in a playoff series.
Perhaps showing a bit of rust from a week off, Wade came out
slowly in this one, scoring just five points on 2-of-9 shooting
in the first half. However, the emerging star recovered after
intermission when the top-seeded Heat pulled away from the weary
After the Wizards pulled within 62-59 with 6:46 left in the
third quarter, Wade scored nine of his 15 second-half points in
a 20-5 surge to close the period.
"It was two different games for me," Wade said. "In the first
half, I didn't play well but in the second half I got it going.
I wanted to come out after the break and be aggressive and hit
a couple of shots. Once that happened and I got into the flow,
I was OK."
Nicknamed "Flash" by O'Neal, Wade scored 20 points on 7-of-18
shooting. He handed out seven assists and grabbed five
Wade's big quarter got not have come at better time for the
Heat, who played the final 8:11 of the third quarter without
O'Neal after he picked up his fourth foul.
O'Neal, who finished second to Steve Nash
in voting for the MVP
earlier Sunday, scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 26
minutes. The 7-1, 325-pound star fouled out in the fourth
quarter when the outcome already had been decided. He left the
locker room without meeting the media.
scored 25 points and Larry Hughes
added 23 for
fifth-seeded Washington, which was playing just two days after
closing its first-round series against Chicago with an emotional
home win Friday night. It was the Wizards' first playoff
series win 23 years.
"We have a locker room full of guys that love a challenge,"
Hughes said. "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 up pretty well, but we
never feel like we cannot win a game."
Game Two is Tuesday.
's dunk with 6:26 left in the third quarter started
the decisive surge. Wade added a layup and two jumpers,
pushing the lead to 73-63 with 3:11 left in the period.
Wade closed the quarter by making three free throws as the Heat
stretched the lead to 82-64. They led by at least 13 points
the entire fourth quarter en route to beating the Wizards for
the ninth straight time.
In their latest victory over the Wizards, the Heat received a
boost from Keyon Dooling
, who came off the bench to score 15
points on 6-of-9 shooting. He has made 20-of-26 shots in his
last four playoff games.
"The guys have shown a lot of confidence in making passes to me,
and it's my job to step up and make the shots," Dooling said.
"When the ball goes in consistently for you, the basket seems to
get bigger. Right now, the basket is pretty big for me."
"He had another really great game," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy
said. "He is playing at such a high level of confidence. He's
just shooting the ball really well and getting good looks."
Dooling, who celebrated his 25th birthday, made two layups and
's 3-pointer with 7:26 left capped an 11-4 surge to
start the second quarter that gave the Heat their biggest lead
of the first half at 39-22.
Led by Dooling, the Heat held a lopsided 36-5 advantage in bench
points. Etan Thomas
accounted for all of the Wizards' offense
off the bench.
"There's the 'X' factor and the 'Y' factor," Wizards coach EddieJordan
said. "Today we the 'Z' factor - zero in that area. We
just didn't have anything positive happen there at all."
added 12 points and Damon Jones
10 for the Heat, who
shot 52 percent (43-of-82) and won despite making just 12-of-23
However, the "Big Three" of Arenas, Hughes and Antawn Jamison
combined for all but two points in a 25-10 burst to close the
half that cut the Wizards' deficit to 49-47.
"The nine minutes before the half were brutal," Van Gundy said.
"Thankfully, we got it back in the second half and survived."
Jamison, who left the contest with a sore right knee with 8:16
remaining, scored 13 points in 32 minutes. The All-Star
forward missed 11 games earlier this season with a right knee
and Jared Jeffries each added 10 points for the
Wizards, who shot 37 percent (28-of-76) and went 26-of-36 at the
O'Neal scored nine points in the first quarter as the Heat got
off to a good start and opened a 26-18 lead. The Wizards made
just 5-of-23 shots in the quarter.