Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/14

Game 1: Friday, November 14th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 23rd
Game 3: Friday, December 26th
Game 4: Sunday, March 21st

Wizards 72

(8-18, 4-12 away)

Heat 79

(11-17, 9-4 home)

    Coverage: WBDC

    7:30 PM ET, December 23, 2003

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 14 16 22 2072
    MIA 24 10 16 2979

    Top Performers

    WSH: J. Jeffries 14 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast

    Mia: D. Wade 20 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Wade scored 11 points in fourth quarter

    MIAMI (AP) -- An established rookie and a seldom-used reserve ignited the Miami Heat to yet another home court victory Tuesday night.

    Rasual Butler shook off a season worth of rust, scoring nine points in the final quarter, and Dwyane Wade scored 20 points as the Heat rallied from an eight-point deficit to defeat the Washington Wizards 79-72.

    "The only thing really matters to me is winning basketball games, if I can go in and help for 30 seconds or 30 minutes I'm going to play as hard as I can," Butler said.

    Butler played 10 minutes, all in the fourth, to spark a Miami comeback that eventually put the Heat ahead 71-63 with 4:52 remaining. Butler hit four field goals, including a 3-pointer with 8:28 left to put the Heat ahead for good 59-58.

    "It was a cool thing to be a part of it," Butler said. "I always try to stay prepared."

    Wade also scored 11 of his points in the final 12 minutes to help lead to Miami to its fifth consecutive home win and nine of its last 11.

    "Rasual inspired us with a great run there," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That's just a real testament to his professionalism because he works real hard every day in the gym. He was ready when he got his chance and I love seeing things like that."

    And so did Butler's teammates.

    "He came in and gave us a big lift and I fed off of him," Rafer Alston said.

    Wade agreed.

    "Our lift came when Rasual Butler came in and stepped it up," he said. "The energy swung for the whole team."

    Eddie Jones added 11 points, and Lamar Odom and Alston each had 10 for the Heat.

    "We turned the ball over at critical times," Wizards coach Ed Jordan said. "We had some open jumpers we didn't make."

    Jordan also recognized the lift Butler gave the Heat, who rallied with a 27-13 run after the Wizards had taken a 52-44 lead late in the third quarter.

    "He was kind of off the radar screen for a few games," Jordan said. "Rasual Butler came in and made his presence known."

    Wade already is well known to Heat opponents. Last night's scoring performance was Wade's sixth successive game with 20 or more points.

    In what is becoming a season of personal highlights for the rookie from Marquette, Wade followed Butler's key 3-pointer with a fast-break dunk over Christian Laettner, resulting in a three-point play.

    "I was driving the ball but they were really packing it in," Wade said. "We got a couple of easy ones down when we needed them."

    Larry Hughes scored 16 points for the Wizards, who have lost 10 of 12.

    Jared Jeffries' field goal with 2:48 remaining cut Miami's lead to 73-69, but Alston hit two free throws and then sealed the victory with a steal and layup with 1:47 left.

    The Wizards went on a 30-8 run spanning the final 3:58 of the second quarter and first nine minutes of the second half. Jarvis Hayes keyed the spurt with nine points, while Hughes added eight.

    "We lost some poise, the thing that got us the lead was defense, intensity and enthusiasm," Hayes said. "We lost that."

    After keeping the Heat scoreless for a stretch late in the first half, the Wizards shut down Miami again early in the third quarter, scoring eight straight points.

    The Heat led by as many as 12 points in the first half before the Wizards outscored Miami 8-0 in the final 3:58 of the second quarter to get close.< ^Notes: Wade has scored in double figures in 13 consecutive games. ... Jeffries finished with a team-high 10 rebounds, giving him four straight double-figure rebound games. ... Hughes has led the Wizards in scoring five consecutive games

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 72 79
    FGM-FGA 29-79 (.367) 31-76 (.408)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 5-20 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 9-11 (.818) 12-14 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-41 9-43
    Assists 16 19
    Turnovers 16 14
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 5 10
    Fast Break Points 2 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (1/0) 9 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Jared Jeffries Jeffries
    Points: 14
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Dwyane Wade Wade
    Points: 20
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1