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Wade leads Heat with 22

3/21/2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Perhaps the snake-bit Washington Wizards
should ask the Miami Heat for lessons on how to stay healthy.

The Heat, with their starting lineup intact for the stretch run,
ran their season-best winning streak to five Sunday with a 101-81
victory over the Wizards.

Dwyane Wade scored 22 points to lead six Heat players in double
figures as Miami broke a three-game road losing streak and held on
to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat have been playing better since their starting five got
healthy six games ago, and this victory was truly a communal
affair. Six different players scored the first 14 points of a 31-9
run that began late in the first half.

"I don't know why that is -- because we call plays for only
three guys, but somehow the other guys end up scoring," coach Stan
Van Gundy said.

"They get points in transition. They get points on the
offensive glass. We move the ball; we're a pretty unselfish team.
Even when we're calling a play for somebody, they'll end up making
a play to somebody else. It's certainly not my play calling or my
offensive genius."

Meanwhile, Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas sprained his right
ankle -- in the very game in which shooting guard Larry Hughes
returned from a broken left wrist. Coach Eddie Jordan told
reporters before the game to rub rabbits' feet and say prayers that
Arenas, Hughes and Jerry Stackhouse will all finally be healthy
together for an extended time, but it was to no avail.

"I guess it was my turn to get hurt this time," said Arenas,
wearing a protective boot on his foot. "Everybody took their
share, and I guess it was my turn in line, so here I am."

Arenas was hurt in the first quarter, but he played through the
pain and committed four turnovers and didn't score in 22 minutes.
He said he will miss Tuesday's game at Utah at least, with the hope
of returning for Thursday's game at the Clippers.

Sunday marked just the fourth game all season that Arenas,
Hughes and Jerry Stackhouse -- the team's three leading scorers --
have played together. Stackhouse has missed most of the season with
knee problems, while Arenas had a lengthy layoff with an abdominal
injury.

"One guy gets healthy; the next guy goes down," said Steve
Blake, who scored a career-high 21 points filling in for Arenas.

Etan Thomas had a career-high 16 rebounds for the Wizards, who
committed 21 turnovers and failed yet again to get their first
three-game winning streak of the season. Washington had won two
straight after losing seven in a row.

Hughes, who missed 19 games with the wrist injury, missed his
first eight shots before finishing with eight points on 3-for-14
shooting. Kwame Brown was also quiet after two of the best games of
his career. Brown had 57 points and 30 rebounds combined against
Sacramento and Atlanta, but he finished with just six points
against the Heat.

Blake scored nine points in a 16-0 run that put the Wizards
ahead 29-17 early in the second quarter, but Odom scored the first
two baskets in a 14-4 spurt that tied the game a few minutes later.

Udonis Haslem made a jumper and a layup to start a 12-2 run that
gave the Heat a 49-40 lead at the half.

Among the various Heat contributions: Haslem made all five of
his shots in the second quarter, while Lamar Odom and Wade were a
combined 6-for-7 in the third. Eddie Jones was just 2-for-9 at
halftime, but he kept shooting and finished with 16 points, making
five of 18 attempts.

The Heat have won by an average of 16.4 points during their
winning streak.

"You can tell when this team starts turning it on that it's
going," center Brian Grant said. "It's revving. Because when the
engine starts revving that's when Stan starts putting the gas on
even harder and saying, 'Let's go. Let's go.' And rightfully so,
because we've been successful at it as of late."

Game notes
Miami improved to 15-7 with Wade, Jones, Odom, Grant and
Butler in the starting lineup. ... The Heat improved to 9-25 on the
road, where they play five of their next seven. ... Miami swept the
season series 4-0. ... The Wizards are 1-19 against Atlantic
Division teams. ... Hughes was activated from the injured list
before the game. To make room, the Wizards placed forward Lonny
Baxter on the injured list with right knee tendinitis