MIAMI, May 10 (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal
again did not play like
Superman, but Dwyane Wade
more than made up for it.
Wade collected 31 points and a franchise playoff-record
15 assists as the Heat defeated the Wizards, 108-102, to open a
2-0 advantage in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference
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"I'm really trying to be a playmaker," said Wade, who set a
career high in assists and grabbed seven rebounds. "To come out
and be on the attack."
O'Neal, the MVP runner-up this season who has a tattoo of
Superman on his left arm, played just 26 foul-plagued minutes in
Game 1 but his Heat nevertheless cruised to a 105-86 victory
- their ninth in a row over the Wizards. In this one, O'Neal
appeared to be bothered by a right thigh bruise suffered late in
the regular season and managed just 16 points in 37 minutes.
"Everything is so relative," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy
"He's not 100 percent. He may not be typical Shaq. Right now,
that guy, one that leg, is still a heck of a player. Tell me
one center who is putting up better numbers in the playoffs. If
he keeps giving us those kind of numbers, we're going to be
For the third day in a row, O'Neal left without speaking to
"A hurt Shaq is still the No. 1 center in this league,"
Washington guard Gilbert Arenas
said. "They built this team for
a championship run. They have all the elements. That's what
we're facing. You've got to get slapped in the face sometimes
before you toughen up. They're beating us down right now, but
we're not afraid. We don't care. We're going to keep
Miami led by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter
and held a 102-91 advantage wiih 2:56 remaining after a layup by
, who scored 21 points. Washington scored the next
six points before Wade converted a three-point play for a 105-97
cushion with 1:05 left, and the Wizards got no closer than five
"We tried to cut the floor off on (Wade)," Washington coach
said. "He is so good that he just splits our
pick-and-rolls. He is a tornado out there. He is a major force
when he goes to the basket."
The Heat could have won by a more comfortable margin but they
missed 18 of their 40 free throws.
"It made the game a lot tougher than it needed to be," Van Gundy
O'Neal missed three consecutive free throws - he was awarded an
extra attempt due to a lane violation - with Miami holding a
nine-point advantage with 1:54 to play. In the last minute,
Miami missed 3-of-6 from the line.
In the end, it didn't matter.
"I'm not worried about free throws because we can make free
throws," Miami backup center Alonzo Mourning
said. "I'm worried
about our turnovers because they capitalize on them."
The Wizards converted 20 Heat turnovers into 15 points.
Miami shot 58 percent (38-of-66) and limited Washington to just
41 percent (37-of-90) from the field as it improved to 6-0 in
The Heat took the lead for good, 64-61, on a 3-pointer by
with 7 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
scored 32 points and Arenas added 28 for the
Wizards, who held a 42-40 rebounding advantage. Larry Hughes
scored just two points on 0-of-11 shooting through three
quarters but had 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the fourth.
Jamison, who is still slowed by a sore knee, said the key to
Washington's getting back into the series is stopping Wade's
slashing moves to the basket.
"He's killing us with his penetration," Jamison said. "We have
to keep him from doing that. We have to keep him out of the
Game 3 is Thursday in Washington.
"We know that when we get home our crowd is going to be behind
us and we're going to be ready to go," Arenas said.
Van Gundy said the Heat were fortunate to be up 2-0 in the
"They kicked our butts on the boards, we missed 18 free throws
and turned the ball over a lot," Van Gundy said. "Those are the
things we're not supposed to do, but we still got out of here
with a win."