for this game

Heat dominate Wizards to win third straight

Jan 29, 2009 - 4:23 AM By Christopher Stock PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MIAMI (Ticker) -- The Miami Heat continue to plow through Southeast Division opponents on their home floor.

The Heat won their third consecutive game - all against divisional foes - on their homestand with a 93-71 triumph over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

In one of the team's best defensive efforts of the season, Miami held Washington to just 37 percent shooting (30-of-81) and forced 18 turnovers as it overcame a sluggish start to pull out the easy victory.

"Bottom line, we shot 39 percent. It wasn't like we were spectacular offensively," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We held them to 71 points, 37 percent shooting. I thought our focus was good on the defensive side of the floor."

The win followed up back-to-back triumphs over both Orlando and Atlanta - the two teams ahead of Miami in the Southeast - in the last few days. The Heat have lost just once at home to a division opponent this season.

This time, they managed to do so without a typical performance from Dwyane Wade, the NBA's leading scorer.

The superstar guard fell just one rebound and one assist shy of a triple-double, but managed just 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

"It would have been great to get it especially in the week of watching Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James all get it," Wade said. "But at the same time, it is about us getting the win."

However, a balanced scoring attack got the job done this time, as six players reached double figures - including 16 points apiece from reserves Michael Beasley and Daequan Cook.

"Coach Spoelstra has been going to his bench a lot knowing that the first group goes out and plays hard, so he can have a lot of confidence in his bench," Cook said. "We are just going out there with a lot of energy and focus."

Wade grabbed nine rebounds and dished out nine assists in 29 minutes as he watched the fourth quarter from the bench with the Heat holding a decisive lead. Wade, who has three triple-doubles in his career, last accomplished the feat on January 13, 2006, against Seattle.

"We were not aware of it," Spoelstra said. "If I was aware of it, I'm not sure I would have thrown him back in with six minutes left in the game, but I might not have taken him out at the beginning of the fourth. It was still only a 14-point game."

Udonis Haslem scored 14 points while Mario Chalmers and James Jones each chipped in 10 for the Heat, who improved to 15-7 at home.

Miami closed the third quarter in dramatic fashion with two highlight-reel plays to take a 70-56 lead into the final period.

The first play was a steal by Wade, who deflected it to Beasley at midcourt. The rookie forward tossed it back to an off-balance Wade, who found Cook for an alley-oop to bring the home crowd to its feet.

"Unless someone dunks something crazy, I think we can at least get top three (on the top plays of the day)," Wade said. "It was nice."

Moments later, Chalmers found Wade all alone down court after a missed free throw, allowing Wade to throw down a one-handed dunk to beat the third-quarter buzzer.

The Heat were sloppy early on as Washington opened up a five-point lead through one. But they finally pulled ahead in the second quarter. Cook hit a pair of 3-pointers just before halftime to give Miami a 41-39 lead at the break.

With the score tied 50-50 midway through the third, Miami began to pull away. The Heat reeled off 10 consecutive points, highlighted by Chalmers' 3-pointer and an emphatic dunk by Joel Anthony.

The Heat led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter. Frustration grew for the Wizards, as Antawn Jamison and Juan Dixon each were charged with technical fouls.

"We tried to make plays we really don't normally make," Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. "Then all of a sudden they exploited us."

Washington, which has lost four in a row and 11 of its last 13, was led by Jamison, who posted 21 points and 12 rebounds.

"It was a tale of two halves," Jamison said. "We did things pretty well in the first half. Towards the end of the third, going into the fourth, we played horribly."