- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 10, 2004

MIAMI — As Miami Heat reserve guard Damon Jones walked off the court at AmericanAirlines Arena, he waved his hands over his head, imploring the already involved crowd to raise the decibel level a little higher, and the fans obliged him.

With a 24-point lead at the end the third quarter in what was eventually a 103-93 Heat victory over the Washington Wizards, the 18,465 fans had a reason to rock the building.

Miami, 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, used a 21-10 run at the end of the first half, then made 75 percent of its shots (15-for-20) in a decisive third quarter to extend its home winning streak to 14 games.

After two games against the Heat already, there appears little the Wizards (2-2) can do to change their fortunes against the Southeast Division favorites.

In Saturday’s game at MCI Center, the Heat made 56 percent of their field goals and scored 52 points in the paint during a 118-106 win. Last night’s numbers were equally distressing: Miami made 52 percent of its field goals and once again won the points-in-the-paint battle 52-30. Washington didn’t help itself in the turnover department either, losing possession 20 times.

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan lamented his team’s inability to do anything right when the game reached the crucial junctures of the second and third quarters. The worst news for the Wizards, who got a team-high 20 points along with six assists and six turnovers from Gilbert Arenas, is that the Heat took advantage of them mostly when center Shaquille O’Neal (20 points, nine assists, nine turnovers) was on the bench.

“It was just bad offense,” Jordan said of the Wizards, who made 38 of 88 field goals (43 percent). “We couldn’t make a play, much less make a shot. We couldn’t pass and we couldn’t catch it, much less finish it at the rim. And that just really carried over to the third quarter.

“We again allow 50-some percent shooting; we turn the ball over 20 times. It’s just the sign of a not-so-good team right now.”

Everyone in a Heat jersey seemed to take advantage. Jones scored 12 points by making four of five 3-pointers. They got a good effort from starting forward Udonis Haslem, and once again, Dwyane Wade (22 points, nine assists) had an excellent night against the Wizards.

If there was a bright spot for Washington, it was the play of reserve guard Anthony Peeler, who played just 17 minutes but made six of eight shots and finished with 13 points.

Larry Hughes struggled his way to seven points, making just three of 15 field goals. Antawn Jamison scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Wizards fell to Miami for the sixth consecutive time.

Meanwhile, the Wizards don’t know the status of backup forward Jared Jeffries for tonight’s game against Orlando at MCI Center. Jeffries suffered a broken nose in the fourth quarter when he was struck with an inadvertent elbow and had to leave the game with just more than nine minutes to play.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” said Jeffries, who didn’t know if he would be fitted for a protective mask.

Brendan Haywood made his first appearance with the Wizards after serving a three-game suspension for fighting in the preseason. Starting at center, Haywood went from watching games in his living room to banging bodies with O’Neal. Shackled by early foul troubles, Haywood finished with just four points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.

“They basically played through the big fella and he made it easy for them,” said Haywood. “They fed off his energy.”

O’Neal played just 14 minutes in the first half but still led the Heat at halftime with 12 points.

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