Wade’s 40 Lead Heat to Tenth Straight Win
Miami 118, Washington 112
MIAMI, March 8 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade wasn't gone very long but made quite a return.
Wade scored 40 points, including the go-ahead basket with 21 seconds left, as the Miami Heat pushed their winning streak to 10 games with a 118-112 victory over the Washington Wizards.
"Dwyane was absolutely outstanding tonight," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "He had a lot of energy, and again he keeps rising to the occasion. He's a remarkable player, and I'm glad to have him on my team."
"He saved it just for us," said Washington guard Gilbert Arenas, who scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half. "It's like an unspoken rivalry we're having right now. And they're getting the best of us."
Miami's All-Star guard had missed the last two games with a sprained right wrist. Without Wade, the Heat barely managed to get past Atlanta and Charlotte, the bottom two teams in the Southeast Division.
"Having five days off helped me to come out with a lot of energy," Wade said. "It's tough to win in this league. It's tough to be able to play games like this, down to the end."
Wade was energetic from the start, beginning with a rare 3-pointer and scoring 12 points in the first quarter. He never cooled off, making 13-of-21 shots and 13-of-14 free throws, falling one point shy of his season high and saving his best for last.
"He had it going," Washington guard Antonio Daniels said. "He was attacking the basket. He put pressure on our defense throughout the course of the game."
Wade poured in 15 points in the third quarter, which saw the Heat match the Wizards with 34 points. And he played a key role down the stretch, scoring eight crucial fourth-quarter points.
"You look down, he had 17 (points) at halftime, and he ends up with 40, and yet we're in the game," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said.
The Heat took the lead at 112-111 with 1:56 left on a 3-pointer by Williams, who has been shooting well of late. After O'Neal missed two free throws, the Wizards had a chance to regain the lead but settled for a tie as Arenas split a pair of foul shots with 1:13 remaining.
The teams traded empty possessions, setting the stage for Wade. He drove hard on Arenas and created contact, then lofted a floater over Etan Thomas that splashed through for a 114-112 lead.
Washington had a chance to tie, but Antawn Jamison missed two free throws. Wade got the rebound, drew a foul and sank a pair from the line. The Wizards threw it away and Williams sealed it with two free throws.
"The first one felt good," Jamison said. "It went in and out. I tried to miss the second one. I tried to miss the back of the iron, and Dwyane Wade got right in front of me.
"Once again, it's another game that pretty much went down to the last minute. We didn't hit the shots. They got some breaks and they hit some tough shots."
Udonis Haslem collected 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who shot 52 percent (39-of-75) as they overcame an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit.
"We're learning how tough we are," Wade said. "We're learning to make the right plays down the stretch. In the beginning of the year, we were in these situations making the wrong plays."
Arenas scored 28 points and Jamison, Caron Butler and Daniels added 19 each for the Wizards (30-30), who have lost five of six. Washington's slide against Miami includes a sweep in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals.
"We just need to win one in order to get the monkey off our back against them," said Arenas, who opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that gave Washington a 94-86 lead before the Heat rallied. "They just have our number right now. But we're gonna keep fighting them."