Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/13

Game 1: Thursday, December 13th
Game 2: Saturday, December 29th
Game 3: Friday, March 21st
Game 4: Friday, April 4th

Wizards 103

(35-33, 15-18 away)

Heat 86

(12-56, 6-29 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 21, 2008

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 26 26 35 16103
    MIA 20 19 23 2486

    Top Performers

    WSH: C. Butler 25 Pts, 2 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mia: B. Jones 15 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast

    Butler logs first 20-point game since return as Wiz crush hapless Heat

    MIAMI (AP) -- Caron Butler's NCAA tournament bracket took a hit on the same day his game looked better than it had in a while.

    Butler scored 25 points and Antawn Jamison added 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to a 103-86 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night.

    Butler eclipsed the 20-point mark for the first time in five games since returning from a strained hip flexor that kept him out of the previous 16 games.

    "I was just trying to assert myself early and try to establish a rhythm because when you are playing games like this, you want to put teams away," Butler said. "Once you give them a little bit of life you saw what happened to UConn earlier today, those things happen."

    The Connecticut Huskies, Butler's alma mater, were upset by San Diego in the NCAA tournament earlier Friday, but Butler vowed not to let his Wizards get upset.

    "I'm pretty sure it messed up your brackets, it messed up mine," Butler said. "But seriously, you have to put teams away early that you are supposed to beat and I think we did a good job of that."

    The Wizards led the entire way against the league's worst team and took a 52-39 lead into halftime. They blew the game open in the third quarter, leading by as many as 25 points after Jamison scored eight consecutive points in a key stretch.

    "We found a groove at both ends of the floor and made some terrific plays," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said.

    Jordan implemented a curfew for his squad, who arrived in South Florida on Wednesday night, to help them stay focused on a team that has struggled throughout the season.

    "They are fighting for jobs, they are trying to show people they belong on this level so you know they are going to play hard," Jamison said.

    Bobby Jones scored 15 points for the Heat, who have lost 10 of their last 11 games and 37 of their last 41.

    "Individually, I thought I played good," said Jones, whose 10-day contract was to expire at midnight. "You know, we were down by like 26 points, but at the end of the day it's all about making plays and I thought I contributed."

    With the victory, the Wizards sat two games over .500 (35-33) for the first time since Feb. 3. They can improve their standing in the Eastern Conference when they host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

    "It's like playing 18 holes, you hit a few great shots and say, 'How can I bottle this up?' " Jordan said. "You just can't. If we can stay professional and keep our energy up, then we can get things done."

    Before the game, the Heat announced forward Udonis Haslem would miss the remainder of the season after having ankle surgery to remove a bone spur. Miami had already lost All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, forward Dorell Wright and center Alonzo Mourning for the season, all with various knee injuries.

    The Heat signed forward Stephane Lasme and guard Blake Ahearn to 10-day contracts before the game after the NBA granted the Heat special roster exemptions.

    Game notes

    Wizards star guard Gilbert Arenas has not set a date on his return, but Jamison said he has been practicing hard lately. "I think it is sooner, he has been really pushing it and really going hard lately. No setbacks. Who knows? I think somewhere on this West Coast trip he might make an appearance and start playing," Jamison said. ... California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver were in attendance. ... Wizards guard Nick Young did not play due to a thigh bruise. ... The Heat played the last 7:25 of the game with five players who all played in the NBA Development League this month and outscored the Wizards reserves, 18-9.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 86
    FGM-FGA 41-77 (.532) 31-67 (.463)
    3PM-3PA 11-26 (.423) 9-26 (.346)
    FTM-FTA 10-19 (.526) 15-21 (.714)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-16 12-16
    Assists 25 23
    Turnovers 12 16
    Steals 10 6
    Blocks 5 5
    Fast Break Points 14 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 26 0

    Top Performers

    Caron Butler Butler
    Points: 25
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Bobby Jones Jones
    Points: 15
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0