Wizards pick up first victory over Heat since 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) -- If the Miami Heat had beaten the Washington
Wizards without Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, the psychological
damage might have been permanent.

As it was, the Gilbert Arenas and his teammates finally lifted a
burden that had dogged them for 3 years. Though they nearly blew a
25-point lead, the Wizards held on and ended a 16-game losing
streak to the Heat with a 106-95 victory Friday night.

"Finally," Arenas said. "We'll take it, no matter who's out
there on the floor. We finally got the little monkey off our

The Wizards' win over their Southeast Division rivals was their
first since Michael Jordan led a 91-87 victory in Miami on April
11, 2003 -- Jordan's last win in his NBA career. The leading scorer
for the Heat that day was a rookie named Caron Butler, who turned
the tables Friday and led Washington with 30 points and nine

"Me personally, I got over one, too," said Butler, who was
sent to the Los Angeles Lakers in the O'Neal trade and later to the
Wizards in the Kwame Brown deal. "Ever since I've been traded, I
haven't beaten those guys, so it felt good to get that monkey off
my back."

Arenas added 27 points, snapping his streak of five consecutive
games with 30 or more. Antawn Jamison had 22 points, 10 rebounds
and a career-high five blocked shots for the Wizards, who led 40-17
after a first quarter in which they shot 76 percent and held a 26-0
advantage in fast-break points.

The Wizards have won five of six and are 9-3 at home. They
improved to 11-11 overall, reaching .500 for the first time since
mid-November, when they were 3-3. Now they're off on a four-game
West Coast trip.

"Last year, we started off the season hot, and we hit December
and tanked it," Arenas said. "This December, we're playing great

James Posey made seven of 11 3-pointers and scored a season-high
26 points, Alonzo Mourning scored 17 points, and rookie Chris Quinn
set season highs in minutes (25), points (9) and assists (5) for
the Heat. Posey, Quinn and Robert Hite came off the bench to help
lead a run that cut the deficit to 11 at halftime, and coach Pat
Riley rewarded all three by putting them in the lineup to start the
second half.

The Wizards' losing streak to the Heat included a four-game
sweep in the second round of the 2004-05 playoffs, and this was by
far the best chance they had to end it. Wade missed his second game
after having wisdom teeth removed, O'Neal is recovering from knee
surgery, and Jason Williams sat out with a nagging leg injury,
depriving Miami of three starters.

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

The Heat committed turnovers on four of their first five
possessions and provided the game's most laughable moment when
Michael Doleac threw a pass straight to Posey. The only problem was
that Posey wasn't in the game -- he was standing out of bounds in
front of the bench.

After their second quarter surge, the Heat hung around in the
third quarter and cut the lead to three on Posey's three-point
play, but Jamison answered with a four-point play when Posey fouled
him during a 3-pointer. Gary Payton hit back-to-back baskets to
make the score 94-89 with 6 minutes remaining, but Jamison
responded with a layup and a runner to start a 12-6 game-ending

"We just dig ourselves so big a whole," Riley said. "We did
it the other night against Phoenix and tonight was just ungodly,
the start that we had -- just getting blown right off the face of
the earth in the first quarter two games in a row."

Game notes
Riley said he expects Wade, who did not make the trip to
Washington, to return to the lineup for Saturday's home again
against Memphis. "I talked to him the other day, and he was
mumbling pretty good," Riley said. ... Williams also is expected
to play Saturday. He rested Friday because Riley didn't want to
play him on back-to-back nights. ... Wizards C Etan Thomas
(sprained left ankle) will miss the upcoming road trip. ... Riley
had no comment on any possible trade talks concerning Philadelphia
76ers guard Allen Iverson, while Washington coach Eddie Jordan said
Iverson saga was "frivolous" for the Wizards. ... The Heat
visited wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and had
a tour of the Pentagon on Thursday. O'Neal said he was especially
touched after meeting several amputees, some of whom were hoping to
return to Iraq. "This little injury I got," O'Neal said,
referring to his knee, "it ain't nothing." ... A moment of
silence was held before the game in memory of Joshua Freeman, a
member of the Wizards ownership group. Freeman, 42, died in a
helicopter crash in Delaware on Thursday night.