Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/15

Game 1: Friday, December 15th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 28th
Game 3: Sunday, March 11th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 11th

Heat 92

(28-29, 12-19 away)

Wizards 83

(31-25, 21-8 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 28, 2007

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 27 19 23 2392
    WSH 20 25 20 1883

    Top Performers

    Mia: S. O'Neal 23 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Blk

    WSH: D. Stevenson 19 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Shaq steps up as Heat roll over Wizards in fourth

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON -- With less than a week to go before his 35th birthday, Shaquille O'Neal took command of the game and could not be stopped. Woe unto the Washington Wizards, who tried to stop the big man one-on-one.

    Elias Says
    Shaquille O'Neal
    Shaquille O'Neal scored 12 straight Miami points (spanning the third and fourth quarters) and finished with 23 in a 92-83 win over the Wizards. O'Neal scored as many as a dozen consecutive points for the Heat in only one other game since he joined the team, and that was more than two years ago (12 in a row against the Raptors, Jan 26, 2005).

    Despite missing Miami's last four games, Dwyane Wade had enough points during February to qualify as the league's scoring leader for the month. Wade's 30.6 points-per-game average during February bested Kobe Bryant (29.7). Allen Iverson topped the charts with his 31.7 PPG average during November, Gilbert Arenas (34.1) was the NBA's scoring leader for December and Ray Allen led the league in January (30.4).

    • Read more Elias Says

    Just like old times, O'Neal assumed control when it mattered most Wednesday night. He scored all 12 of his team's points over a 13-minute span late in the third quarter and most of the fourth, finishing with a season-high 23 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 92-83 victory.

    "I don't have the same 1,000-percent explosiveness," said O'Neal, who missed 39 games early in the season with a knee injury. "But it's coming back."

    In a game without Dwyane Wade, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison -- and with Gilbert Arenas having another poor shooting night -- O'Neal became the star attraction with a variety of moves against helpless Wizards center Brendan Haywood. O'Neal backed in for a basket. He tossed in an underhand reverse layup with his left hand. He converted a soft hook, then a half-hook. He scored with a spin move.

    "A lot of people don't think he can play anymore," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "That's why they guard him one-on-one. They're making a big mistake if he keeps getting his rhythm down."

    Haywood would have liked some help, but the Wizards didn't want to risk leaving Jason Williams (23 points) or Udonis Haslem (12 points and 16 rebounds) open.

    "If somebody thinks he's too old or too whatever, at the end of the day the man's still over 300 pounds," Haywood said. "When somebody weighs that much more than you, there's nothing you can really do if there's no double-team coming. It's like playing against your big brother. You can try as hard as you want to, but he's older and bigger than you and there's nothing you can do."

    O'Neal, forced to carrying more of the load while Wade is out with a shoulder injury, finished 11-for-17 from the field and also had 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. He would have scored more had he not missed six of seven free throws.

    "I'm known as 'The Big Sewer," O'Neal said, "because I've got a lot of you-know-what in my game."

    When Eddie Jones hit a 3-pointer with 1:12 to play, it broke the all-Shaq Miami parade and gave the Heat a nine-point lead, essentially sealing the game. Meanwhile, the Wizards were absolutely cold, shooting 7-for-26 in the fourth quarter of their fourth straight loss.

    The Heat improved to 2-2 since Wade's dislocated his left shoulder. He is scheduled to get a second opinion Thursday to determine whether he should have season-ending surgery.

    Arenas, basically a one-man band for the third straight game because of injuries to Butler (back) and Jamison (knee), scored 15 points on 3-for-18 shooting. He is 14-for-61 over his last three games. He missed all eight of his 3-point attempts and has made only 19 of his last 101 3-pointers, a skid that started the day after his 25th birthday.

    "He's carrying the whole franchise on his shoulder right now," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "You can't ask anything more of him."

    DeShawn Stevenson led the Wizards with 19 points.

    The Wizards broke a 16-game losing streak (including playoffs) to the Heat in December -- a game Wade and O'Neal both missed.

    This time, O'Neal couldn't be missed.

    "I think when guys guard him one-on-one, he likes it but he's kind of insulted," Haslem said. "Because he thinks that people feel like he's lost it a little bit. He don't appreciate that."

    Game notes

    Gilbertology update: About two hours before tip-off, Arenas was spotted in a concrete basement stairwell underneath the Verizon Center, moving very slowly up the stairs. He looked more like a patient recovering from hip surgery than a professional athlete as he put his right foot on the next step, then carefully placed his left foot next to his right. "Hey, you all right?" Arenas was asked. "Yeah, I'm OK," he replied. "Ritual." ... Riley was hoping for an emotional lift from the team's visit to the White House on Tuesday, when President Bush honored them for winning last season's NBA title. "Based on what's been going on this season with us, the gloom and doom thing has dampened the spirits," Riley said. "But I think yesterday was buoyant." ... The Wizards signed F Mike Hall to a 10-day contract and released C James Lang. ... Cal Ripken performed a ceremonial opening tip, and his son Ryan won pizzas for everyone by making a 3-point shot during a second-half timeout. ... Miami's Jason Kapono had a career-high eight assists. ... Butler had an MRI on his back, but it revealed no structural problems. "It's just back spasms," coach Eddie Jordan said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 92 83
    FGM-FGA 33-79 (.418) 29-81 (.358)
    3PM-3PA 9-26 (.346) 7-25 (.280)
    FTM-FTA 17-25 (.680) 18-24 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-49 13-43
    Assists 22 19
    Turnovers 11 13
    Steals 6 6
    Blocks 6 7
    Fast Break Points 10 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 17 2

    Top Performers

    Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 23
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3
    DeShawn Stevenson Stevenson
    Points: 19
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0