The Wizards hung tough with the Heat, but in the end Miami was just a little too tough, as they pulled out the 99-90 victory. The game was tied entering the fourth, and the Wizards had the lead as late as the 5:54 mark, but the Heat responded with a 12-0 run to put the game away. The Wizards absolutely dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Heat 50-33 but the Heat were just too hot down the stretch. They shot 50% overall, 47.6% from three and made all nine of their free throws. The Wizards in contrast shot just 40%, staying in the game by getting extra possessions through their 21 offensive boards, a season-high for the team. The Heat came in having lost three in a row, which could have been the reason Dwyane Wade played in just his third back-to-back of the year and he was a difference maker. Wade finished with 22 points, six assists and five boards. The other members of the big three showed up as well, as James had 23 points, seven boards and eight assists while Bosh had 22 points and seven boards. The big three for Miami accounted for 67 of their 99 points.
Marcin Gortat was probably the star of this contest, singlehandedly keeping the Wizards in the game early on the boards. He had 10 rebounds in the first quarter, finished with a career-high tying 18, nine of which were on the offensive end. He also chipped in 14 points and four assists. Ariza struggled for the first time in a long time, as he and Wall combined to shoot just 4/19 from the field which obviously really hurt Washington. Wall did have eight assists and six boards though. Beal led the Wizards in scoring with 18, while Webster and Gooden had big nights off the bench with 17 and 15 respectively.
The Wizards have won seven of their last nine now, and will look to get back on track against the Bobcats on Wednesday at Verizon Center. - Jacob Raim
We arrived in Miami yesterday and it was hard not to notice the drastic temperature change. After a snow storm in DC last Monday and then some frigid temps in Milwaukee, exiting the plane in 75 degree weather felt nice.
And many of the guys went right to the hotel pool to get some treatment and pool workouts in on the off day.
But, now it's gameday and it's back to basketball for the Wizards as they try and win a season-high sixth straight road game tonight in Miami. It would be the Wizards first six game road winning streak since 2001.
If the Wizards are to continue the streak, they'll need to do it against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
And strangely enough, for the third time this season they'll get the Heat coming off consecutive losses. In fact, this time the Heat have lost a season-high three straight games as they return home to AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Wizards have won eight of nine overall and are peaking at the right time. Even after losing Nene to a knee injury, they have had other veterans step up and give valuable contributions to solidify the second unit. They'll once again need that elder group to play a big role tonight, as both Nene and Kevin Seraphin will be held out.
The Wiz have scored over 100 points in six straight games and will likely need another big offensive effort tonight against the high flying Miami offense.
This Heat team could be with Dwyane Wade, who normally doesn't play on the second night of back-to-backs, but with yesterday's game being played in the afternoon, he could at least play limited minutes tonight for Miami.
Another note for tonight, after going eight straight games of shooting at least 50% from the floor, LeBron James had back-to-back games in which he struggled to shoot the ball, going 14/41 in the Heat's last two games. He also did not shoot a free-throw in yesterday's game, which was the first game this season that occurred.
Trevor Ariza will get the task to be his primary defender tonight, but the Wizards usually use a lot of help defense when trying to stop the prolific James.
And don't sleep on Ariza on the offensive end. All he's done is shoot 66% from 3-point range over the last seven games while averaging 23.1 points per contest in that stretch. He's been the hottest Wizards' player over the last month and has really given defenses another perimeter threat to worry about.
Looking forward to this one tonight, we'll be live chatting from Miami on WashingtonWizards.com.
Randy Wittman Pregame