WASHINGTON, May 12 (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal
got a night's rest.
The Washington Wizards are about to be getting a summer's worth.
Taking over in the second half, Dwyane Wade
collected 31 points,
nine rebounds and six assists to help the Miami Heat defeat the
Wizards, 102-95, and open a commanding 3-0 lead in their Eastern
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No team in NBA history has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a
"He was very upset at himself at halftime," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy
said of Wade. "He had six turnovers. He got a lot of
encouragement from a lot of people, even me, and I'm not exactly
Mr. Encouragement. His teammates have a lot of belief in him
and we knew we needed him.
"He had a tremendous second half: 9-for-15 from the field and
only two turnovers. Having to guard guys as talented as (Larry)Hughes
and (Gilbert) Arenas
, he did a fabulous job. He also
got some big rebounds. He just battled, and our whole team
Less than half an hour before tipoff, it was announced that
O'Neal would not suit up for the contest because he still was
bothered by a bruised right thigh suffered late in the regular
season. He had played in 164 consecutive playoff games in his
O'Neal's teammates cherished the opportunity to step up. EddieJones
, who scored 16 points, said he would give game balls to
big men Alonzo Mourning
(14 points, 13 rebounds), Udonis Haslem
(12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 12 rebounds) and Michael Doleac
(three rebounds in 13 minutes).
"They got it done," Jones said. "For not playing big minutes
and then getting an opportunity to play big minutes tonight -
they gave us everything. Without those three guys, I don't
think we win the game. ... Those three guys were Shaquille.
They filled the role great."
Wade made sure the Heat did not miss his fellow All-Star too
much, scoring 19 points after the break when Miami took control.
"They put the ball in my hands and told me to take over the
game," Wade said. "With that, my confidence just came alive."
"He's the focal point of that team the whole year," Arenas said.
"Everyone focuses on Shaq, but he's the one who's silently
killing you every night."
Wade scored eight points and Jones seven in a 22-5
third-quarter run that turned a 60-52 deficit into a 74-65
advantage with 3:33 left in the period.
"We made a lot of mistakes in the third period," said Arenas,
who had 20 points and a season-high 14 assists but shot 2-for-10
from the arc. "I had five turnovers. I had a bad second half
and I think I cost the team the game.
"Nothing was going down. In the first half, I did a pretty good
job. But in the second half, I didn't run the team. I've just
got to do a better job in the future. It's a learning process
but right now you can't feel good about it."
After Wade made the opening two baskets of the fourth quarter to
give Miami its biggest lead, 83-70, Washington stormed back,
pulling within 87-84 on a 3-pointer by Larry Hughes with 6:49 to
"I think that experience really matters," said Hughes, who
finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. "The guys who make
the plays that stop the run are key."
, who scored 16 points, countered with a 3-pointer
and a jumper around a jump-hook by Mourning to open a 94-84
cushion with 4:59 left. Washington whittled its deficit to
98-95 on a layup by Arenas with 1:51 to play, but Haslem picked
up a loose ball and sank a jumper with 1:30 left and Wade made a
driving layup to cap the scoring with 54 seconds to go.
"We get them down by 13 points and then it seemed like it's back
to four points 30 seconds later," Van Gundy said. "They won't
go away. We had to get a lot of stops down the stretch."
Starting in place of O'Neal, Mourning was a force in the middle
for the top-seeded Heat, who held a 43-29 advantage on the glass
en route to improving to 7-0 in the postseason.
"Alonzo gets real excited to play and the most fatigued that he
got was in the first four minutes of the game," Van Gundy said.
"He was changing shots all over the place, rebounding the ball
and he had some timely baskets. He was tremendous."
"This is not a one-man or two-man team," Mourning said. "We
have a lot of guys with a lot of pride who understand the goal
that we have set for ourselves. ... Shaq at shootaround this
morning pulled me to the side and said, 'Look, big fellow, I am
going to need you tonight.' I told him, 'Say no more.'"
scored 21 points for the Wizards, who allowed the
Heat to shoot 51 percent (40-of-78).
The fifth-seeded Wizards, who had won seven straight games -
three in the playoffs - at the MCI Center, host Game Four on
Saturday. Washington lost its opening two games of the first
round to the Chicago Bulls but rallied to win four straight.
"We still think we can beat them," Arenas said. "We just have
to do like we did in the Bulls series and try to run four in a
row. We're not going to give up now because we're down 0-3. It
hasn't been done many times before so we're going to try it."