- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2005

MIAMI — The Washington Wizards can look at two positives after getting blown out by the Miami Heat on Sunday: It was just the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and the Wizards will have Antawn Jamison in the lineup for Game 2.

Jamison, who missed 14 games during the regular season because of tendinitis in his right knee, aggravated the injury in the third quarter of the Heat’s 105-86 rout but should be OK for tonight’s game.

‘There’s nothing different than with the first incident,’ Jamison said following practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. ‘I feel a lot better than I did yesterday at around this time, so that’s a good thing. I’ll just rest up tonight and be ready for tomorrow.’

Coach Eddie Jordan said he was not sure how extensively he will use Jamison, who is averaging 17.4 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds in the playoffs. He said Jamison, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds Sunday, will help make that decision for him.

‘We have to watch him for the first six minutes,’ Jordan said. ‘He’s tough enough to go, but how effective will he be? Is he going to hurt us or help us’ He recovered well enough from last night to today that there is hope that he can play at a higher level tomorrow night.’

Because of Jamison’s toughness — he had a consecutive-game streak of 346 broken this season — none of his teammates expects the injury to be much of an issue come tip-off.

But for the Wizards to make this series competitive against the top seed in the East, they will have to show more resistance than they did Sunday, when the Heat crushed them with an effort they admitted was less than stellar.

For instance, the Heat got only average games out of All-Stars Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade. O’Neal, hampered by fouls, played just 26 minutes and finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. Wade finished with 20 points but shot just 7-for-18 from the field.

That was more than enough against Washington, which had less than 48 hours to prepare for a team that has beaten them nine straight times. The Wizards looked a lot like the team that fell two games behind the Chicago Bulls to start the first round.

The Wizards rushed shots, which in part accounted for their franchise playoff-record low nine assists. Their shooting percentage, which climbed steadily as they beat the Bulls four straight times, dipped to 36.8 percent against Miami.

Before the series, Gilbert Arenas said the Wizards need to ‘run, run and run some more. We need to score 140 points every game.’

Paramount in that equation was that running against O’Neal might be the only way to lessen his effectiveness, and that might have been the case Sunday. O’Neal picked up his third foul in the second quarter, a period in which the Wizards ran at every opportunity. As a result, Washington was able to trim a 17-point second-quarter deficit to just two at halftime.

‘We have to run, but we have to run with a purpose,’ Jordan said. ‘We have to run and create spacing with extra ball movement. We wanted to keep up the pace, but there was a spot where I don’t think we stayed organized, and that is what we have to work on.’

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