MIAMI -- Even though Miami shot nearly 75 percent from the field in the first half and almost 62 percent for the game, the Heat's red-hot outside effort only offered half the explanation for the Washington Bullets' 128-98 loss to Miami last night.
Bullets coach Wes Unseld offered the rest: "Yes, they shot the ball very well, but we didn't play any defense."
As a result, the Heat (26-25) looked like the team that had just taken three of four games against the NBA's division leaders.
The undermanned Bullets (16-36), who played without Kevin Duckworth, Calbert Cheaney, Kenny Walker, Rex Chapman and Larry Stewart, meanwhile, looked every bit like a team that has lost nine of 11 and is in last place in the Atlantic Division.
"Pitiful . . . just pitiful," said forward Tom Gugliotta. "There are no other words to describe it."
The Heat had its way inside early in the game, with center Rony Seikaly scoring 17 first-half points as Miami took a 68-49 lead.
Seikaly scored 10 points in the first quarter against the shorter Pervis Ellison.
When Gheorghe Muresan replaced Ellison to start the second quarter, Seikaly swept past the lumbering rookie on several layups.
"That was as quick as I've seen Rony in some while," Heat coach Kevin Loughery said.
"When you know you can get layups, it makes the outside shot easier," said Gugliotta. "With so many things open, there was no pressure for them to make the jump shot."
Miami's Glen Rice led all scorers with 29 points, including three three-pointers. Steve Smith added 21 points and a game-high 10 assists and Seikaly had a game-high eight rebounds plus his 24 points.
"We came out on top of our game, playing aggressively," Rice said. "When we do that, we can pretty much do anything we want."
After Miami extended its lead to 94-74 after three quarters, the final period turned into something resembling a playground game.
But the fourth quarter did produce such garbage-time gems as Manute Bol's first block as a new member of the Bullets (on Willie Burton's jumper), the silky low-post moves of Muresan (who had 12 points, all near the basket) and an ill-advised three-point attempt by Miami's John Salley, which bounced off the rim with a thud.
The Heat raced to a 10-2 lead in the first 3:28, led by Rice and Grant Long, who had four points each. The Bullets battled back, drawing within 18-14 on Doug Overton's driving layup.
Miami then finished the first quarter on a 14-8 run paced by Seikaly's eight points. Two of Seikaly's baskets came on inside moves at the expense of Muresan.
Rice, Smith and Seikaly combined to hit 19 of 21 shots in the first half.
"Playing a game like this one, where everything you shoot goes in,is a lot of fun," Seikaly said. "It would be nice if we could play that well every night."