Wade Notches Triple-Double as Heat Roll
Miami 117, Seattle 104
SEATTLE, Jan. 13 (Ticker) -- It took a while for the Seattle SuperSonics to show the effects of sharpshooter Ray Allen's absence. Once they did, and Dwyane Wade got comfortable, the Miami Heat had few problems.
Wade recorded his third career triple-double and second this month with 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists as the Heat overcame a large early deficit to post a 117-104 victory over the shorthanded SuperSonics.
"When he sees two guys guarding him, then he makes the pass to the right guy," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "When your best player goes 4-for-14 and you still win, you've got to feel good about it."
"I can't have the triple-double unless my guys hit the shots, so I am doing what coach wants me to do - get the ball to guys who can make plays," Wade said.
Five other players scored in double figures as Miami shot at least 50 percent (42-of-84) for the third straight game, all wins. The Heat opened their season-high seven-game road trip with two losses, the second of which Wade missed with a bruised shin.
Playing without Allen, an All-Star guard who began serving a three-game suspension for Wednesday's fight with Orlando's Keyon Dooling, the SuperSonics burst out of the gate by hitting 11 straight shots and a pair of free throws to claim a 26-14 lead midway through the first quarter.
"I thought we played very well for a quarter and a half," Seattle coach Bob Hill said. "Then all at once we couldn't guard the pick-and-roll. When you lose someone of (Allen's) magnitude, in the back of their minds they feel like it's a lot to overcome."
Miami All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal felt Allen's absence did not necessarily give the Heat a big advantage. "We don't see it as a break," O'Neal said. "We know that every team that plays us is going to be shooting way over their head. We got off to a slow start and they hit a lot of shots, but we started playing great defense. We just have to learn to put a 48-minute game together. When we buckle down and move the ball around, we are a pretty good team."
Luke Ridnour missed a 3-pointer to stop Seattle's game-opening surge, leading to a 3-pointer on the other end by James Posey. Miami got within 38-32 at the end of the period and turned the tables in second quarter, making 8-of-10 shots in a 25-8 run that opened a 61-49 lead with 2:41 left.
The Sonics cut the Heat's 15-point halftime lead to 84-75, but Udonis Haslem had a three-point play and Wade assisted on Alonzo Mourning's jumper before making two free throws to rebuild the advantage to 16 points late in the third period.
The Sonics again got within nine points at 95-86 before Antoine Walker started an 18-7 burst with a runner. Wade grabbed his last two rebounds with just over four minutes left and departed with his team ahead, 115-96.
Wade had one triple-double in his first 169 career games and two in his last five. "He's playing fabulous, shooting the ball well and getting everybody in the game," O'Neal said of Wade.
Jason Williams and Posey each had 19 points, O'Neal 16 and Walker 15 for Miami, which held a 47-32 rebounding advantage to improve to 3-15 all-time in Seattle.
Rashard Lewis scored 33 points and Ridnour added 21, including six in the Sonics' opening surge. Damien Wilkins started in Allen's place and scored 12 points.
"I thought we played a good game tonight without Ray Allen," Lewis said. "We scored over 100 points. We just didn't play any defense." Lewis had 20 points in the first half, doing his best to fill Allen's void and keep his team in it.
"I think Rashard Lewis was the Ray Allen substitution tonight," O'Neal said. However, aside from Lewis' 2-of-5 effort, Seattle was 1-of-11 from the arc, lacking the complementary outside threat Allen provides. The Sonics fell to 9-10 at home.