After returning from injury and helping the Miami Heat halt their season-high
losing streak, Dwyane Wade looks to help them build some momentum during an extended road trip.

Wade and the defending NBA champion Heat play their third game of a season-high six-game road swing against the struggling Seattle SuperSonics on Wednesday.

Wade provided a lift for Miami on Sunday, scoring 33 points in a 93-90 win at Portland to end the team's five-game skid.

"It was good to come out and give my teammates some confidence and pull out a win,'' said Wade, who missed four games with a sprained right wrist suffered in a loss at Chicago on Dec. 27.

"I could tell I was off for 10 days. I got a little tired.''

In Wade's absence, Jason Kapono showed signs of developing into a complementary scorer to the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. He has averaged 15.9 points over the last eight games - starting five of them - and had 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

"I told him at the end of the third quarter that I wanted him to be aggressive, like he was when I was out,'' Wade said. "He's one of the best shooters there is in the NBA.''

Wade will need Kapono to continue that support with Shaquille O'Neal, Antoine Walker and James Posey out. O'Neal will miss his 28th consecutive game after undergoing left knee surgery on Nov. 17.

Walker and Posey are each expected to miss their fourth game in a row due to missing the team's body-fat requirements by 1 percent. Miami coach Pat Riley deactivated the pair before he took a leave of absence because of knee surgery.

The two players have until Jan. 15 to meet the requirement or face a possible suspension.

With those three players sidelined, Wade's return bolstered a team that scored only 81.0 points per game and was outscored by an average of 20.0 points in the four games without him.

Wade is fifth in the NBA with 27.7 points per game and his 7.7 assists are a career high for Miami, which is trying to win consecutive road games for the first time since defeating Charlotte and Memphis, respectively, on Nov. 25 and Dec. 2.

Wade had 31 points in the Heat's 90-87 win over Seattle on Nov. 7, but Posey made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 19 seconds to play for the winning points. Miami is trying to sweep the series for the second straight season and for the third time in the last four.

The SuperSonics (13-24) might be happy this contest is at KeyArena, where they begin a seven-game homestand hoping to avoid matching a season-high, six-game losing streak. Seattle, which has won seven of its last nine at home, has not lost six in a row since Dec. 12-20, and five of those losses came on the road.

Seattle lost 113-102 at Phoenix on Tuesday, extending their season-high road losing streak to 12 games despite Nick Collison's career highs of 29 points and 21 rebounds.

"Statistically, that's three times probably my average,'' said Collison, who is averaging 8.1 points and 6.7 rebounds. "It was a good game personally, but you have one guy have a great game like that and we still lose by 15 (actually 11), it doesn't make things feel very well.''

Seattle has lost 13 of its last 16 games, and is now last in the Northwest Division. The Sonics are 12 games behind the first-place Utah Jazz, whom they host Friday.


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