Final Score: Wizards 114 Heat 97
If we learned anything tonight, it has to be that the Washington Wizards know how to start, and they know how to finish.
After beginning with a 43-18 first quarter and pushing the lead to 64-30 midway through the second, the Miami Heat climbed back into the game, trailing only 9 points early in the 4th quarter. The Wizards finished on fire, however, handing the Heat a loss, 114-97.
Knowing the talent level of the defending champions, fans in the Verizon Center became a bit reserved, anxious, and perhaps even worried in the second half. No matter, the Wiz had an answer for both the Wizards fans and the Heat. They pushed the tempo, had some bounces fall their way, and capped off an 8-0 run late in the game with a Wall-to-Webster alley-oop jam to put the game out of reach.
The Wizards put up an all-around solid performance, with seven players scoring in double figures. They had their best shooting night from the field of the year, making 54.7% of their shots. The Wizards also played strong on defense, holding the Heat to only 44% shooting.
John Wall led the team with 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. Nene added 19 points and 9 rebounds, and Bradley Beal finished with 19 points as well.
LeBron James had an efficient game, putting up 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 26 points tonight, with 7 rebounds to go along with it.
This marks the first loss for Miami against a fellow Southeast Division team since December 10th, 2012 when the Heat lost at Verizon Center.
The win moves Washington to 18-19 on the season. The team will have a chance to reach .500 with a win on Friday against the Bulls. Tip-off will be at 7:00 at the Verizon Center. - Jack Persons
3rd Q Update
With 12 minutes left, the Verizon Center has a game. The 34 point Wizards' lead over the Heat has turned into just a 9 point advantage, 86-77.
Nene has 17 points along with 7 assists; Bradley Beal has posted 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists; and Marcin Gortat has 12 points to go along with 9 rebounds.
Chris Bosh leads the Heat with 21 points, and LeBron James' line includes 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Heat had a lot of momentum in the third quarter, but the Wiz still have a significant lead going into the final period. As long as they play efficient, assist-oriented basketball in the last 12 minutes, they will be able to handle the Heat. - Jack Persons
2nd Q Update
Through halftime, it's no fluke. There are no typos. The Wizards are taking it to the Heat, thoroughly outplaying them on both ends of the floor and lead Miami 69-48 at the half.
As a team, the Wizards have shot 57.1% from the field, while holding the Heat to 45.7% shooting, well below their season average of almost 51%.
It has been a true team effort thus far for the Wiz, with four players in double digits, led by Nene with 13 points, Beal & Booker with 12 each, and John Wall, who has 11 points and 5 assists.
James, Bosh, and Wade have accounted for 32 of the Heat's 48 points. Greg Oden, the former first-overall draft pick, has 6 points in his first game since 2009.
The Wizards hold a 19-5 advantage on fast break points, as well as an 18-10 lead in assists. For the home team to take down the champs, they have to keep pushing the tempo. If the Heat close out the lane, then the Wizards need to go back to what they have done well tonight: move the ball. More dimes tonight will give Washington their biggest win of the season so far. - Jack Persons
1st Q Update
The two-time reigning NBA champion Miami Heat are never out of a contest, but the Wizards are pulling away through one quarter. Washington leads 43-18 at the first break. The Wiz are hot, shooting 17 of 22 in the period, and are playing great defense. They held the Heat scoreless for over five minutes towards the end of the quarter. John Wall has 11 points and 4 assists on 4 of 5 shooting, and Trevor Booker posted 8 points and 4 rebounds, including a putback dunk at the buzzer off of a missed John Wall jumper. LeBron James was held to 4 points. The 43 points scored by the Wizards is the most the team has scored in a quarter this year. - Jack Persons
We are back at Verizon Center for the first of a five-game homestand.
You can already sense a little extra buzz with additional media on hand to cover tonight's #WizHeat game. Anytime the defending champs come into your building, there's naturally going to be a little extra pep in the step.
That may be just what the Wizards need to turn things around here at VC. They've won just one game here since December 2nd and have struggled to play the brand of basketball they know they are capable of playing.
Here's some of the guys and coach Wittman talking about tonight's game:
And Randy Wittman's pregame comments on playing Miami:
The Heat are dead last in the NBA in rebounding (36.4 rpg), but part of that is because they shoot such a high percentage from the floor (51%). A lot of their offense comes in the transition game as they love to "get it and go" off an opponent's make or miss. The Wizards will need to be extra careful valuing each possession, because one bad pass almost always leads to an easy dunk on the other end against this Heat team.
The Wizards went to an eight man rotation in Chicago on Monday night, but Wittman would not give away if that was just a one time thing or something to be expected again. He said he just had a feel for the game, but the rotation could change tonight. Both Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely and Otto Porter were left out of the rotation on Monday, as it was only Martell Webster, Garrett Temple, and Trevor Booker who saw minutes off the bench. That will be something to keep an eye on tonight.
The Heat have no shortage of star power or talent and the building will be rocking tonight as the Wizards look to begin their homestand with an upset win over the defending champs.
The Live Chat
kicks off at 7pm from Verizon Center. We'll see you there!
It's time to put the suitcases away for a week and get comfortable in our own beds.
Tonight begins a five-game homestand at Verizon Center for the Wizards, and this may be their most crucial stretch of the season thus far.
They've dropped seven of their last eight at home and tonight welcome the two-time defending champion Miami Heat to town.
By now, they must be tired of answering the same question of "Why can't you translate your road success to home," but until they start winning some games at Verizon they'll continue to hear it from the media.
Here's video from after yesterday's practice with Randy Wittman, John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Trevor Booker all discussing tonight's big game against the Heat. We've joked in the Live Chats that the team should try wearing the red jerseys at home and it was funny hearing Witt bring up the same idea:
It's not often a team will play the Heat coming off two straight losses, but for the second time this season, that will be the case for the Wizards. Back in early November, the Wiz went to Miami after they were coming off a two-game losing streak and a loss in Brooklyn. Tonight, the Wiz again take on the Heat after a two-game losing streak and a loss in Brooklyn. What does that mean for the Wizards? I'm not exactly sure, but after a four day break and a trip to the White House, the Heat should be well rested and hungry to return to their winning ways, so the Wizards will need to be at their best to pull off an upset tonight.
The Wizards played one of their best games of the year on Monday night in Chicago, shooting 52% from the field in a wire-to-wire, 102-88, win at the United Center. They know that's the kind of basketball they are capable of playing and now they want to show their home fans that brand of ball.
Tonight will be without a doubt the toughest of the five-game homestand, but the Heat usually bring out the best in the Wizards and always bring out the best in the crowd. Maybe hearing from those Heat fans will give the Wizards somewhat of a road feel and they'll play the kind of basketball that has allowed them to win seven of their last nine away from Verizon Center.
Either way, it should be exciting and this is one game that always gets circled when the schedule comes out.
We'll be back with more during pregame and then will be live chatting from Verizon Center at 7pm.
For more on the homestand, check out