MIAMI (AP) -- An established rookie and a seldom-used reserve
ignited the Miami Heat to yet another home court victory Tuesday
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
And so did Butler's teammates.
"He came in and gave us a big lift and I fed off of him,"
Rafer Alston said.
"Our lift came when Rasual Butler came in and stepped it up,"
he said. "The energy swung for the whole team."
"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
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
"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
Larry Hughes scored 16 points for the Wizards, who have lost 10
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