NBA Game Summary - Miami at Washington
(Saturday, April 8th)
Final Score: Miami 99, Washington 86
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Shaquille O'Neal posted 27 points and 10 rebounds while Derek Anderson added 20 points, as Miami defeated Washington, 99-86, at the Verizon Center.
O'Neal's performance was a welcome sight to the Heat, as was the offensive outburst by Anderson, who drained 5-of-10 from behind the arc in the victory. Gary Payton donated 13 points and eight assists while Udonis Haslem also added 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Dwyane Wade totaled 11 points and also dished out eight assists for the Heat, winners in two of their last three games. Miami also shared the ball well, assisting on 28 of 38 made field goals.
"Our depth today stepped up," said Miami head coach Pat Riley. "Different guys have to play different roles because three key players are out. We are starting to feel more comfortable."
With the win, Miami increased its hold on the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race to 3 1/2 games over New Jersey, which fell at home to Cleveland on Saturday.
Miami also swept the four-game season series between the two squads and has won 12 straight in the series. The last time Washington defeated Miami was in Miami on April 11, 2003.
Gilbert Arenas, a game after dumping 41 points on the Milwaukee Bucks, scored a game-high 30 points while Antonio Daniels contributed a season-high 25 points in the loss. No other Wizard reached double figures in the club's second straight defeat.
The Wizards now hold just a two-game edge on Milwaukee for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
"When you want to shut down a team, you have to shut down their key players and make other guys beat you. That's what we wanted to do," said Arenas. "We wanted to shut down Wade. Anderson ended up beating us. He found his rhythm tonight."
Miami got off to a sluggish start and trailed 29-19 at the end of the first stanza. However, the club turned up the heat in the second quarter behind Wade and surprising offensive production from Anderson.
The Heat went on a 10-2 quarter-opening spurt to cut the deficit to two. Wade started the stretch with a transition layup and Anderson capped the run with consecutive mid-range jumpers.
The Wizards continued to misfire from the floor, and Miami scored 14 of 15 points during one stretch to take a nine-point edge. O'Neal and Haslem each tallied four of the points with Haslem's layup opened a 45-36 advantage with 5:06 to play. Washington missed all five shots during the extended field-goal drought.
Washington cut Miami's lead to 54-51 on Daniels' three-point play with 50 ticks left and trailed 56-51 at the half.
The lead continued to grow during the third quarter.
The Heat reeled off six straight points in the latter stages of the stanza to extended their lead to 71-59. Two O'Neal baskets in the paint bookended a driving layup by Payton.
Miami led 75-63 after three periods.
Miami opened an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, 85-67, on Antoine Walker's three-pointer with 8:58 remaining. Washington never got anything going offensively in the final quarter, and the Heat held a comfortable margin the rest of the way.
Miami improved to 21-18 on the road this season...Washington fell to 25-14 at home...The Wizards now hit the road for a three-game trip to Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Chicago...The Heat shot 46.3 percent from the floor...Washington made just 39.7 percent of its shots...Washington forward Caron Butler (right thumb strain) did not play.
04/09 01:53:09 ET