WASHINGTON, May 12 (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal got a night's rest. The Washington Wizards are about to be getting a summer's worth.

Taking over in the second half, Dwyane Wade collected 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists to help the Miami Heat defeat the Wizards, 102-95, and open a commanding 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

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No team in NBA history has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series.

"He was very upset at himself at halftime," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said of Wade. "He had six turnovers. He got a lot of encouragement from a lot of people, even me, and I'm not exactly Mr. Encouragement. His teammates have a lot of belief in him and we knew we needed him.

"He had a tremendous second half: 9-for-15 from the field and only two turnovers. Having to guard guys as talented as (Larry)Hughes and (Gilbert) Arenas, he did a fabulous job. He also got some big rebounds. He just battled, and our whole team battled."

Less than half an hour before tipoff, it was announced that O'Neal would not suit up for the contest because he still was bothered by a bruised right thigh suffered late in the regular season. He had played in 164 consecutive playoff games in his remarkable career.

O'Neal's teammates cherished the opportunity to step up. EddieJones, who scored 16 points, said he would give game balls to big men Alonzo Mourning (14 points, 13 rebounds), Udonis Haslem (12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 12 rebounds) and Michael Doleac (three rebounds in 13 minutes).

"They got it done," Jones said. "For not playing big minutes and then getting an opportunity to play big minutes tonight - they gave us everything. Without those three guys, I don't think we win the game. ... Those three guys were Shaquille. They filled the role great."

Wade made sure the Heat did not miss his fellow All-Star too much, scoring 19 points after the break when Miami took control.

"They put the ball in my hands and told me to take over the game," Wade said. "With that, my confidence just came alive."

"He's the focal point of that team the whole year," Arenas said. "Everyone focuses on Shaq, but he's the one who's silently killing you every night."

Wade scored eight points and Jones seven in a 22-5 third-quarter run that turned a 60-52 deficit into a 74-65 advantage with 3:33 left in the period.

"We made a lot of mistakes in the third period," said Arenas, who had 20 points and a season-high 14 assists but shot 2-for-10 from the arc. "I had five turnovers. I had a bad second half and I think I cost the team the game.

"Nothing was going down. In the first half, I did a pretty good job. But in the second half, I didn't run the team. I've just got to do a better job in the future. It's a learning process but right now you can't feel good about it."

After Wade made the opening two baskets of the fourth quarter to give Miami its biggest lead, 83-70, Washington stormed back, pulling within 87-84 on a 3-pointer by Larry Hughes with 6:49 to play.

"I think that experience really matters," said Hughes, who finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. "The guys who make the plays that stop the run are key."

Damon Jones, who scored 16 points, countered with a 3-pointer and a jumper around a jump-hook by Mourning to open a 94-84 cushion with 4:59 left. Washington whittled its deficit to 98-95 on a layup by Arenas with 1:51 to play, but Haslem picked up a loose ball and sank a jumper with 1:30 left and Wade made a driving layup to cap the scoring with 54 seconds to go.

"We get them down by 13 points and then it seemed like it's back to four points 30 seconds later," Van Gundy said. "They won't go away. We had to get a lot of stops down the stretch."

Starting in place of O'Neal, Mourning was a force in the middle for the top-seeded Heat, who held a 43-29 advantage on the glass en route to improving to 7-0 in the postseason.

"Alonzo gets real excited to play and the most fatigued that he got was in the first four minutes of the game," Van Gundy said. "He was changing shots all over the place, rebounding the ball and he had some timely baskets. He was tremendous."

"This is not a one-man or two-man team," Mourning said. "We have a lot of guys with a lot of pride who understand the goal that we have set for ourselves. ... Shaq at shootaround this morning pulled me to the side and said, 'Look, big fellow, I am going to need you tonight.' I told him, 'Say no more.'"

Antawn Jamison scored 21 points for the Wizards, who allowed the Heat to shoot 51 percent (40-of-78).

The fifth-seeded Wizards, who had won seven straight games - three in the playoffs - at the MCI Center, host Game Four on Saturday. Washington lost its opening two games of the first round to the Chicago Bulls but rallied to win four straight.

"We still think we can beat them," Arenas said. "We just have to do like we did in the Bulls series and try to run four in a row. We're not going to give up now because we're down 0-3. It hasn't been done many times before so we're going to try it."