for this game

Wade, Heat send Celtics to 16th straight loss

Feb 8, 2007 - 5:17 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Despite a first-half scare, superstar Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat continued the Boston Celtics' putrid streak.

Wade collected 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds as the Heat extended the Celtics' franchise-record losing streak to 16 games with a 91-79 victory, their season-high fifth straight win.

Jason Kapono scored 19 points for Miami, which trailed, 27-17, at the end of the first quarter but started the second period on a 12-1 run to take the lead for good.

"They came out the way we expected," Wade said. "That's a team that's very hungry to get a win, and you've got the world champions coming in so you expect nothing but the best from them early on. They came out the way we expected. We just had to weather the storm, and then the third quarter is the quarter when you put a team away."

Heat interim coach Ron Rothstein thinks the squad is coming together.

"I said it about a month ago, the thing we need the most is health," Rothstein said. "I mean, we're the defending champs, so I mean we got some talent, and guys get together and are in decent shape and when that happens, we're a pretty good team."

Averaging career highs in points (28.8) and assists (7.9) entering the contest, Wade has carried the Heat for most of the season. It was no different on Wednesday as the star guard scored when his team needed him most but also made a huge impact with his playmaking ability.

"All season we always talked about getting everyone healthy," Wade said. "That was the main thing. We're a very confident team when everyone is on the floor. We want to make sure we get (Jason Williams) back and then we'll be full throttle."

Wade shot 10-of-17 from the field and 9-of-9 from the line, torching a demoralized Boston squad, which fell to 2-22 without injured swingman Paul Pierce. The Celtics hoped to have Pierce back for this contest, but he has developed an infected left elbow and likely will be out until after the All-Star break.

One of the most storied franchises in sports, Boston (12-36) is winless since a January 5 victory over Memphis (12-38), which is one game ahead of the Celtics for the league's worst record and the best chance at the No. 1 pick in this June's highly anticipated draft. The Grizzlies lost again Wednesday, 113-97, at Dallas.

"The one group starts the game, playing the right way," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They just kept the game simple. Our game plan was to move our big guys offensively, and we did a great job early. We went to our bench and it's not the same energy."

Rothstein pointed out that Boston's problem is not effort.

"You got to give them credit," Rothstein said. "They play awfully hard and they are very young and they outwork themselves. We didn't exactly beat them with our effort, we beat them with our talent."

Celtics swingman Wally Szczerbiak scored 14 points in 13 minutes before leaving with a sprained ankle in the third quarter.

"It's not as bad, which is good," Szczerbiak said. "It's bad luck. I just chased down Kapono - and I watched the replay - and I think I stepped on Leon Powe's foot right on the bench.

"My attention was diverted back to see if Kapono was shooting, and I just stepped on his foot and rolled it. It's just frustrating, right when I was starting to feel better and get my legs under me and get a little bit of a sharper rhythm."

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