Miami 106, Washington 104

MIAMI, March 11 (AP) -- Udonis Haslem doesn't get many plays called for him, and certainly not in game-deciding situations.

So when his chance arose Sunday night, Miami's power forward took advantage.

His 10-footer in the lane with 0.3 seconds left capped a wild back-and-forth game and gave the Heat a 106-104 victory over Washington - moving the NBA champions one game behind the Wizards in the Southeast Division race.

"I was very confident that I could make that shot,'' Haslem said. "I felt I would get a good shot. It was all about making it, and I was fortunate enough to make it.''

Miami blew a 16-point first-half lead, then had to rally from 12 points down over the final 14 minutes to win its sixth consecutive game overall, 12th straight at home, and get a season-best four games over .500.

Eddie Jones had 18 points and Gary Payton added a season-high 17 for the Heat, who had all eight players in the rotation reach double figures - with Haslem doing so on the final shot.

"Udonis saved us,'' Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said.

Gilbert Arenas scored 33 for the Wizards, including three free throws with 3.1 seconds left that tied the game. Antawn Jamison had a 26-point, 15-rebound effort for Washington, which lost at the buzzer for the second straight night when Haslem went to his right and scored the game-winner.

"I got my hand on the ball a little bit, but he went backwards,'' Jamison said. "I couldn't even jump or contest it because he kind of surprised me with that one.''

Washington walked off stunned for the second time in 24 hours. Steve Francis' 3-pointer gave the New York Knicks a buzzer-beating 90-89 win in Washington on Saturday night.

Alonzo Mourning had 16 points and O'Neal - limited to 17 minutes by foul trouble - had 12 points for the Heat, while Haslem had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Williams and Antoine Walker each had 11 points and James Posey added 10 for Miami, which hadn't had eight players reach double figures since Feb. 14, 1991.

"You can't ask for more balance than that,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said.

Brendan Haywood had 12 points for the Wizards, who've lost three straight by a combined six points.

"You would have thought that we could not come down here and have a chance to win after a heartbreak like last night,'' Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "That is what a lot of people thought and we proved them wrong. We will be fine.''

Miami clearly has Washington's number: The Heat are 18-1 in the last 19 meetings, including playoffs, between the clubs, and the teams play once more in South Florida this season.

"We played great basketball in this building but we just can't get over the hump,'' Arenas said. "They're a championship team. They know how to play. They know how to win.''

Miami went up 104-101 with 4.1 seconds left, when Williams hit the first of two free throws. He missed the second - the Heat went 10-for-25 from the line - and that gave Washington a chance.

The Wizards, naturally, went to Arenas, who was fouled by Payton in the deep right corner with 3.1 seconds left. Payton insisted afterward he never touched Washington's star.

"I didn't put my hands up or anything,'' Payton said. "He was already saying he was going to get the foul.''

Countered Arenas: "He was pushing under me and I leaned forward with the shot.''

Arenas hit all three, tying the game. The Heat went to Haslem, and the Miami native came through.

"We just wanted to get a look at it,'' Riley said. "And Udonis got a look at it. He made a Dwyane Wade shot ... just a great shot.''

Miami led 28-14 after the opening quarter, forcing Washington into 10 straight missed shots over a six-minute stretch - and building that edge with O'Neal limited to two minutes because of foul trouble.

Walker hit a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in the half to give Miami a 56-40 lead, but Arenas jumped past Dorell Wright and hit a running 3-pointer at the horn, cutting Miami's lead to 13 at the break - and breathing life into the Wizards.

That shot started what became a 40-12 run by Washington, which shot 72 percent in the third quarter while holding the Heat to a 30 percent clip in that period. Caron Butler's dunk with 2:13 left in the third put the Wizards up 80-68, but Miami clawed its way back.

"We think they got a little too happy,'' O'Neal said. "We're the most experienced team in the league when it comes to playing from behind and they got a little too happy, running their mouths, jumping up and down, looking at the Heat dancers, all that stuff. So we just had to step it up and show them what we're all about.''

Notes: The Wizards are 8-30 all-time in regular season games in Miami. ... Payton's previous season-high was 16 at New Jersey in November. ... The Heat go for a 6-0 homestand Tuesday against Utah.


Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited