Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/16

Game 1: Saturday, November 16th
Heat65Final
Wizards95
Game 2: Sunday, March 2nd
Wizards83Final
Heat93
Game 3: Saturday, March 15th
Heat82Final
Wizards89
Game 4: Friday, April 11th
Wizards91Final
Heat87

Heat 82

(21-45, 8-25 away)

Wizards 89

(32-34, 23-13 home)

    7:00 PM ET, March 15, 2003

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 20 28 15 1982
    WSH 21 27 22 1989

    Top Performers

    Miami: B. Grant 16 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Washington: J. Stackhouse 37 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Wizards still have pulse in East playoff race

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Coach Doug Collins yelled at his team at halftime, then he changed the defense.

    Recovering from a stagnant first half against the worst team in the division, the Washington Wizards rattled the Miami Heat with seven third-quarter steals and got a badly needed 89-82 victory Saturday night.

    "We were upset with ourselves at halftime. We were mad. He yelled at us a little bit,'' said Christian Laettner, who had eight points, 12 rebounds and three steals. "We changed things up a little, and the change made us more aggressive.''

    Jerry Stackhouse, who arrived at the arena six hours before tipoff for treatment on a swollen ankle, scored 37 points. Stackhouse turned the ankle Friday night against Detroit, but he showed no ill effects in making 11 of 22 shots and 14 of 15 free throws.

    Stackhouse is averaging 31 points since his outburst a week ago, when he complained the offense wasn't designed to take advantage of his attacking game.

    "I was trying to be aggressive,'' Stackhouse said. "That's my game, just slashing and taking the ball to the basket. I still don't feel I go enough.''

    Michael Jordan added 19 points for the Wizards, who need a victory in nearly all of their few precious remaining home games to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They play 11 of their final 16 on the road. The Wizards were in a tie for eighth place with Milwaukee, which lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. Before the game against Miami, Washington had lost five of seven overall to fall into ninth place.

    The game was tied 48-48 after a largely uninspiring first half, and Collins took the blame for using the wrong defense. The adjustments he made paid dividends: Jordan, Laettner and Brendan Haywood had two steals apiece in the third quarter, and Haywood blocked two shots.

    The drawback was that Washington didn't take full advantage. The Wizards converted the Heat's seven turnovers into just six points and needed Bryon Russell's buzzer-beating jumper to take their biggest lead, 70-63, heading into the fourth period.

    Jordan completed the surge early in the fourth with a jumper and three-point play off a driving layup to get the lead to 10, and the Heat never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

    In the end, it was another frustrating night for the Heat, who have lost six of seven. Brian Grant had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, and Travis Best also scored 16 points.

    "We just have the same disease every single night,'' coach Pat Riley said. "Somewhere in the third quarter we go from playing very well, and then all of a sudden we start to play bad. We start turning the ball over, and they're like mindless turnovers.

    "I don't know if it's borne out of fatigue or just carelessness or whatever, but we always go through a stretch where that gets us going in the wrong direction.''

    Grant sounded like a player who can't wait for the season to end.

    "I'm about to get numb,'' he said. "Early on, you go home and you're pulling your hair out. Halfway through, you're kicking stuff. Three quarters of the way through, you're smacking yourself in the head. And now bringing it in strong, you just figure you can't do no more.

    "After the fact, you're kicking stuff. Going home, sleepless nights. You just can't do it on the court. It's tough on everybody, man.''

    Neither team led by more than five points in the first half. Jordan was a one-man show with 12 points in the first quarter, while Stackhouse scored 14 in the second, including a 20-foot jumper just before the buzzer that tied the game at halftime.

    The Heat also divided their scoring load by the quarter. Grant had 10 points in the first quarter, mostly on jump shots, while Malik Allen had 10 in the second.

    Game notes


    Both teams lost the night before: the Wizards at Detroit and the Heat at home to New Orleans. ... Collins said he's not yet into scoreboard-watching, in part because he has trouble reading the MCI Center scoreboard, which uses symbols such as "NOH'' for the New Orleans Hornets. "I can't read their abbreviations,'' Collins said. "I had no idea what NOH was.''

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    MIA
    WSH
    Points 82 89
    FGM-FGA 33-80 (.413) 31-73 (.425)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 2-9 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 12-16 (.750) 25-33 (.758)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-44 10-41
    Assists 21 14
    Turnovers 14 9
    Steals 6 11
    Blocks 4 9
    Fast Break Points 4 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Miami
    Washington
    Brian Grant Grant
    Points: 16
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Jerry Stackhouse Stackhouse
    Points: 37
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1