Dwyane Wade and LeBron James came up with the idea several hours
before the game.
If the Miami Heat were going to have a moment of silence to
honor the victims of the Connecticut school shooting, then they
wanted their own children to share in that solemn tribute.
So several players did exactly that – and maybe it was no
coincidence that the Heat came up with one of their most complete
showings of the season. James had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and
the Heat never trailed on the way to beating the Washington Wizards
102-72 on Saturday night.
”We were focused on the game,” Wade said. ”We had heavy
hearts for the families that dealt with the tragedy. But we had to
play basketball, and … for our fans and our family we had to come
out here and do our job.”
And that’s exactly what the Heat did.
Wade and Udonis Haslem each scored 13 for Miami, which outscored
Washington 29-10 in the third quarter to build a 33-point lead.
James had 16 points alone in the third, ensuring he would finish
with at least 20 points for the 26th straight regular-season game
and 42nd consecutive game overall dating to last season.
Chris Bosh added 12 points for the Heat, who turned 21 turnovers
into 30 points.
”We worked the game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
”Regardless of who was in the game, what the score was, work our
game. Let’s try to get back to our identity and be consistent. …
You should have some of these games where you jump on teams and
you’re able to sustain it.”
Bradley Beal scored 19 points and Cartier Martin added 18 for
the Wizards, who beat the Heat 105-101 in Washington on Dec. 4.
This one went much differently.
Consider: By halftime, Miami already had 50 points. Through
three quarters, Washington still only had 46.
”I didn’t know what we were running half the time,” Wizards
coach Randy Wittman said. ”Credit to Miami. They came out and put
pressure on us and we didn’t handle their pressure. I don’t know
what we were doing from an offensive standpoint.”
It was an emotional day in Miami, as it has been at just about
every U.S. sports venue since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
on Friday sent shock waves across the country. Several Heat players
spoke about how the massacre that left 20 children and six adults
dead at an elementary school affected them, and before tipoff on
Saturday, Miami held a moment of silence.
The added twist was the presence of the kids: Several Heat
players brought their children onto the court for that moment, with
Bosh holding his son Jackson to his chest.
”I couldn’t imagine being in the position some people are in
right now,” Bosh said. ”It wasn’t like they were dropping their
kids off in a dangerous situation. It was school.”
Once the game started, Miami was all business.
Miami held Washington to 29 percent from the field in the
opening quarter, ran out to a quick 16-point lead and never yielded
control. Jordan Crawford made a 3-pointer for the Wizards early in
the second to cut the Miami lead to 28-22, but after that, it was
”We kind of turned into putty tonight,” Wittman said.
By halftime, it was 50-36, and Wade set James up for an easy
basket with 4:35 left in the third to push the Heat margin to
69-40. After that, the only drama remaining revolved around whether
James would extend his streak of 20-point games, with everyone in
the building knowing that he would be sitting out the entire fourth
quarter of the runaway game.
He got there, and then some.
James went on a personal 8-0 run to end the third, finishing his
night with a flourish. A turnaround jumper with 1:56 left in the
third started the end-of-quarter flurry, followed by a pull-up
jumper on the next possession to give him 19 points.
And when Ray Allen controlled a Norris Cole-versus-Beal jump
ball, he flung it down court to James, who collected the pass and
made a layup to pass that 20-point plateau once again. For good
measure, James made one more 17-footer late in the quarter, going
to the bench for good when the period ended.
”We came out and set a tone early on,” Wade said. ”And
NOTES: Former Heat C Shaquille O’Neal sat courtside, shaking
hands with several players during the first half. World No. 1
golfer Rory McIlroy also was in attendance. … Haslem, Bosh and
Wade combined to shoot 16 for 22. … The Heat, whose biggest lead
in Washington was only five, led by as many as 35 on Saturday. …
Washington fell to 1-10 on the road.