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Butler, Arenas dominate as Wizards beat Heat

Dec 16, 2006 - 6:04 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Caron Butler and Washington Wizards were tired of being a doormat to the Miami Heat.

Butler scored 18 of his season-high 30 points in the first quarter and Gilbert Arenas added 27 as the Wizards posted a 106-95 victory over the shorthanded Heat.

Washington entered Friday's matchup with 12 straight losses to Miami. The last time the Wizards beat the Heat was during Butler's rookie campaign in 2003 as a member of the Heat.

"Personally I got over one too. Ever since I have been traded, I have not beaten them and it felt really good to get that monkey off my back," Butler said. "Coach (Pat) Riley had a lot to do with my success and maturing as a player and professional off the court. I love him to death. He is a great man and a great coach. I was so happy for them last year when they won the championship."

Butler connected on 12-of-19 shots and pulled down nine rebounds. He also collected four assists and four steals.

"It gave us other options. They were converging and loading up on Gilbert, so I tried to pick and choose my points and score on transition," Butler said. "They were back-peddling, and I took advantage of the opportunities I was given. My teammates did a great job of running the floor and gave me space to operate."

"Being motivated because of a streak is not what we are looking at," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "We are looking at what the Wizards have to do to get better at both ends of the floor on a nightly basis, it is the here and the now, not what people predict for us."

Butler is putting together his best season as a pro, averaging career highs in points (18.6), rebounds (8.7) and assists (3.4) through 22 games. He already has matched his total of nine double-doubles from last season.

Washington jumped out to a commanding 40-17 advantage after one quarter thanks to 76 percent (16-of-21) shooting from the field. Butler made 7-of-9 shots in the period.

"We just dug ourselves a big hole - like the other night against Phoenix - was just ungodly," Riley said. "We just got blown off the face of the earth in the first quarter. Obviously that lineup doesn't work."

However, the Heat were able to chip away, cutting the deficit to 68-65 when James Posey converted a three-point play with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

With just a five-point lead intact, the trio of Butler, Arenas and Antawn Jamison combined to score all the points during a 10-1 surge that rebuilt the advantage to 104-90 with 2:58 remaining.

Jamison recorded 22 points, 10 rebounds and career-high five blocks for the Wizards, who shot 48 percent (41-of-84) and improved to 9-3 at home this season.

Washington used its speed and quickness to score easy baskets, holding a 30-8 advantage in fast-break points. Posey scored a season-high 26 points and Alonzo Mourning chipped in 17 for Miami, which shot 41 percent (36-of-87).

"We came out flat and they jumped right on us and we couldn't get back in it," Posey said. "We didn't come out and play like we wanted to win, and dug ourselves a hole."

All-Star Dwyane Wade, who leads the Heat in scoring at 28.0 points per game, missed his second consecutive contest after having two wisdom teeth removed. Star center Shaquille O'Neal also remains sidelined with a knee injury.

"They've got three of their go-to guys playing and we've got three of our go-to guys out," Mourning said. "Ya'll do the math on it."

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