Wade, O’Neal Will Heat Past Wizards
Miami 128, Washington 113
WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas scored more points than he ever has in an NBA game but Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal made that a moot point.
Arenas scored a career-high 47 points but Wade scored 34 and O'Neal added 28 as the Miami Heat recorded their 14th straight win over the Washington Wizards, 128-113.
"We just play well and we've got their number right now," O'Neal said.
"You always want to do well and win the game," Arenas said. "I tried to carry us early, but we just couldn't get over the hump. They have two guys who just dominate the inside and they did a good job tonight."
Antoine Walker, who collected 21 points and 13 rebounds off the bench, tied the game, 93-93, with a hook shot.
"Antoine is our missing link, our key factor," O'Neal said. "If he comes in and plays like he did tonight, we're going to be a hard team to beat. He had a breakout game tonight so hopefully this is what we'll continue to see from Antoine."
Wade followed with the first of his 15 fourth-quarter points on a runner with 10:35 to go that gave Miami the lead for good.
"In the first half, they clogged it up on me a lot," Wade said. "I think they really tried to take me away early on, so I just got off the ball a lot and didn't try to force anything. I knew it would open up eventually."
O'Neal, who added 10 rebounds, converted a layup and dunk on consecutive possessions to make it 109-98 with a little less than six minutes remaining and the Heat were not threatened thereafter.
"We've got to get him on the move, I think, to make him real effective," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "All those dunks and all the little lobs that he's getting is a direct result of some of that movement, especially when everybody's leaning towards Dwyane."
Coming into the game as the league's fourth-leading scorer, Arenas came out firing with 17 first-quarter points. He had 29 by halftime before tying his previous best of 44 points with a three-point play with 3:52 left in the third.
Arenas made 14 of his first 20 shots but cooled off by missing his final three attempts of the third period and making just 1-of-6 shots in the fourth.
"We have to score in the fourth quarter like we did in the first three quarters," Arenas said. "I don't think I even hit a bucket until late in the fourth quarter and I'm not helping my team when I do that."
While Arenas cooled off, Wade heated up as the game progressed, scoring 26 points after the break to reach the 30-point plateau for the the third straight game.