MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat takes an off-balance shot during a game against the Washington Wizards at American Airlines Arena on February 25, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
What's the best way to shake off a tough loss to a conference rival? Schedule a game against the Washington Wizards the next night. The Heat defeated the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference 121-113 behind a 41-point explosion from Dwyane Wade Friday night.
But despite a scoring barrage from Wade and the Heat, the Wizards held on for most of the game, spurred on by a 38-point effort from guard Nick Young. The Wizards were down only 2 points early in the fourth quarter, but the Heat pulled away late to secure the win.
The Heat moved to 43-16 on the season, good for first place in the Eastern Conference, but still a game behind 41-15 Boston in the loss column.
Wade added 5 rebounds and 2 assists on 18 for 27 shooting, while LeBron James finished with 25 points, 9 boards and 7 assists. After shooting 1 for 18 in a Thursday loss to the Bulls, Third King Chris Bosh shot 5 for 12, finishing with 15 points an 8 rebounds.
But while Miami's defense held a strong Chicago team to 93 points on Thursday, Washington seemed to have Miami figured out, scoring 113 points despite shooting 47% from the field. The Wizards jumped to an early 20-13 lead, and held a 25-20 lead after one quarter.
Then Wade took over, going on a 13-2 run all by himself to start the second quarter. He scored 20 of the Heat's 43(!) second quarter points. Miami led 63-61 at the half, and after the Wizards tied the game midway through the third quarter, the Heat regained the lead for good.
David Hill is a Miami native and former owner of a youth replica Rony Seikaly jersey.