Miami wins series 4-0 (Game 1 of 4)

Miami wins series 4-0

Game 1: Sunday, May 8th
Game 2: Tuesday, May 10th
Game 3: Thursday, May 12th
Game 4: Saturday, May 14th

Wizards 86

(45-37, 16-25 away)

Heat 105

(59-23, 35-6 home)

3:30 PM ET, May 8, 2005

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

1 2 3 4 T
WSH 18 29 17 2286
MIA 26 23 33 23105

Top Performers

WSH: L. Hughes 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Mia: E. Jones 12 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Miami's balance on offense overwhelms Wizards

MIAMI (AP) -- They gave away a 17-point lead, turned the ball over 15 times, missed 11 free throws and received nothing resembling dominance from either Shaquille O'Neal or Dwyane Wade.

Didn't matter. The Miami Heat still won with ease.

Wade overcame a poor start to score 20 points, O'Neal added 19 points in 26 foul-plagued minutes and the Heat defeated Washington 105-86 Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

"I think it was just being out of our rhythm," Wade said. "We didn't go for the jugular."

The Heat's depth was a key factor, with Miami's reserves outscoring Washington's 36-5.

Keyon Dooling had 15 points, Eddie Jones scored 12 and Damon Jones 10 for the Heat, who've won five straight playoff games for the first time in franchise history and are 5-0 against Washington this season.

"Everybody's main focus is Dwyane and Shaq anyway," said Dooling, who was 6-for-9 on his 25th birthday and is 20-for-26 in his last four games. "So there's going to be shots and opportunities for everyone else."

Deadpanned Wizards coach Eddie Jordan: "We gave them a run for their money, 36-5. We always have an 'X' factor. Today we had a 'Z' factor -- zero."

Gilbert Arenas had 25 points on 8-for-21 shooting for Washington. Larry Hughes added 23, Antawn Jamison had 13 before leaving in the fourth quarter with a sore right knee, and Jared Jeffries and Brendan Haywood added 10 apiece. Etan Thomas, with five points, was the only Washington reserve to score.

Game 2 is Tuesday night, with the Wizards looking to snap a nine-game losing streak against the Heat.

"We have a locker room of guys that love the challenge," Hughes said. "We've been down. We don't feel like we're out. We feel like we can win a basketball game any given day we step out there."

For a while, it seemed this might be one of those winning days for the Wizards.

Miami's 17-point lead was trimmed to one early in the third quarter, but the Heat never lost the lead -- and Wade got rolling just in time. He had 11 points and four assists in the third quarter and keyed a 14-3 run to end the period that pushed Miami's lead to 82-64.

"I look at the first half and the second half as two different games," said Wade, who had five points and four turnovers in the first half, 15 points and no turnovers in the second half. "The first half was the first game. I didn't do well. The second half, I came out and tried to be a little more aggressive."

Despite Wade's early struggles, the Heat -- who hadn't played since finishing off a first-round sweep of New Jersey last Sunday -- started strong.

Washington missed 17 of 19 shots during one early stretch, finishing the first quarter 5-for-23 to trail 26-18. In the quarter, Miami was 0-for-4 from 3-point range and 2-for-5 from the line. O'Neal missed a dunk and Wade -- who missed eight of his first 10 shots -- managed only four points.

Miami hit five of its first seven shots in the second quarter and seemed poised to turn the game into a rout. Rasual Butler's 3-pointer from the right wing with 7:27 left in the half capped a 9-0 run that pushed Miami's lead to 39-22.

Jordan called a timeout, and whatever he said worked.

Washington scored the next 11 points, including a pair of tough shots around the basket by Jamison and a 3-pointer by Arenas. The Wizards turned Miami's seven second-quarter turnovers into 11 points and ended the half on a 6-0 spurt, pulling to 49-47 at the break.

"Washington made a lot of comebacks throughout the year," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Eddie does a great job when things are going bad. They change their defenses, the pick up their energy level. ... Against a team like Washington, you've really got to stay the course. You need a 48-minute effort."

Haywood's three-point play with 11:15 left in the third quarter drew Washington to 51-50, but the Wizards never took the lead. Miami soon pulled away again, this time for good.

"We've just got to make shots," Haywood said. "You can't work 40 percent and beat the Heat."

Seven straight Miami points -- a 3-pointer and layup from Damon Jones sandwiched around a jumper by Eddie Jones -- pushed the lead to 58-50. The Wizards never made another serious run.

"There's one thing that's guaranteed," Jordan said. "We've got two games here, and two in Washington. We'll see where it goes."

Game notes

O'Neal did not speak with reporters after the game. ... Wizards F Michael Ruffin played 19 minutes, fouled out, and didn't take a single shot. ... The arena was evacuated five hours before tip-off following the spotting of a suspicious package. The package held lighting equipment stolen from a TV crew and was detonated by police, Heat officials said. Arena operations were normal before gates opened. ... Jamison's knee is "a concern right now for us," Jordan said. ... It took 89 seconds for fans to start chanting "M-V-P" to O'Neal after tip-off. Phoenix's Steve Nash was named the league's Most Valuable Player on Sunday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press