MIAMI -- For home openers, it was an impressive pre-game spectacle, from the gospel singers to the marching bands to the fireworks.
It would have been nice of the Miami Heat to have included a clinic on how to defend against the three-point shot.
That's because the Washington Bullets unloaded a record-setting three-point extravaganza as they beat the Heat, 109-99, before a sellout crowd at the Miami Arena.
The Bullets (4-1) hit 12 three-pointers, surpassing the previous team record of eight set last November against the Atlanta Hawks. Rex Chapman had eight of the three-pointers, establishing a team record and coming two shy of the NBA record tied last week by Detroit Pistons guard Joe Dumars.
"I was thinking that I couldn't make a two," said Chapman, who was 8-for-14 from beyond the arc -- and 3-for-8 in front of it -- in scoring 28 points. "It came all within the flow. They were double-teaming and we were swinging the ball to the open man."
And Chapman just stood back and fired. He hit his eighth three-pointer with just under five minutes left in the third quarter and then sat out until midway through the fourth. When he checked back in with 5:57 left, he wasn't worried about shooting for the record.
"I didn't know how many I had, but it didn't matter," Chapman said. "When I came back in the game, we didn't need any quick shots."
Once again it was a balanced effort for the Bullets. Tom Gugliotta scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Scott Skiles had 13 points and eight assists.
The contribution from the bench allowed starters such as Skiles and Chapman to rest for long portions of the second half. Don MacLean had 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, and Mitchell Butler added 12 points. The reserves helped build a 15-point lead.
"Terrific, terrific" was how Bullets coach Jim Lynam described the bench play. "They gave us a helpful boost off the bench, and we talked about it in the locker room afterward."
The win came on a night when the Bullets weren't at their best defensively. They allowed 16 offensive rebounds, although they limited the Heat to five offensive boards in the second half.
"I thought we were a bit tentative," Lynam said after his team moved into first place in the Atlantic Division, a half-game ahead of the New York Knicks.
"In the first half, they just killed us on the boards."
But the second half was different, with Washington leading by as many as 16 points as it spoiled Miami's opening-night festivities.
"This is one of the toughest back-to-backs you can have," Chapman said, referring to Friday's game against New Jersey.
"We played a game [Friday], flew out afterward and you're looking at four hours of sleep. You have to be able to play with a lot of emotion at that stage."
Glen Rice scored 21 points and former Bullets guard Ledell Eackles added 20 for the Heat, which has dropped its first four games for the first time since its inaugural season.
Heat coach Kevin Loughery is still trying to blend a team that has made wholesale changes over the off-season. In the past two weeks, the Heat has traded three of the players that started here last season.
"This group is relatively new to each other," Loughery said. "It's going to take time, naturally, but this isn't the exhibition season."
Washington hit nine of its team-record three-pointers in the first half, six by Chapman, who was coming off a subpar game against the Nets. Despite the outside shooting, the Bullets had a hard time defensively -- allowing too many second-shot opportunities -- and had a 59-52 halftime lead.
The Heat, averaging 84 shots a game, took 30 in the first quarter alone last night.
Miami started the game without Kevin Willis, the recently acquired center who did not warm up because of muscle spasms in his left leg.
But he gave the Heat a lift when he entered the court from the locker room with 5:05 left in the quarter and immediately checked into the game to a standing ovation. But his presence wasn't enough, as the Bullets led throughout the quarter and had a 31-29 lead.