Final Score: Wizards 114 Heat 93
The Wizards cruised to victory over the Heat at Verizon Center, leading by as many as 36 and eventually winning 114-93. The Heat announced before the game that James and Bosh would sit this one out, but the Wizards still had a job to do and they took care of business. With a win over the Celtics on Wednesday or a loss by the Bobcats in either of their two remaining games (in a battle with the Hawks as this is being written), the Wizards would clinch the sixth seed. A win in Boston and two losses by Brooklyn and the Wizards would be fifth.
The second quarter of this game was where the Wizards pulled away and it was a special quarter. Washington shot 93.8% on 15/16 from the field, scored 43 points (highest scoring second quarter of the year), and turned a one point lead into 22. After the break it was more Wizards, as they would go up by as many as 36 before Miami cut into it late to make the final margin 21.
The Wizards had one of their better offensive nights of the year, shooting 59% from the field and 48.3% from long distance. It was also there best night of distribution of the year, as they finished with a season-high 36 assists on 46 made buckets. Wall and Miller led the offense with precision, with Wall dishing out 13 assists (in just 24 minutes) against two turnovers and Miller dishing out nine assists against one turnover. Washington also outrebounded Miami 42-31. Trevor Ariza led the attack with 25 points on 10/13 shooting, including 5/8 from long range. Nene had 18 points on 8/12 shooting, Harrington had 16 on 6/8 and Beal had 15 on 5/9. Gortat recorded his 36th double-double of the year with 10 points and 13 boards.
Miami was led by Michael Beasley who had 18 points and Toney Douglas with 14. Dwyane Wade played 18 minutes and finished with nine points.
Washington closes out its 2014 regular season campaign on Wednesday night in Boston. Tip-off is at 8pm. - Jacob Raim
For the final time during the regular season, we say hello from Verizon Center. Game #41 is scheduled for tonight with none other than the two-time defending champion Miami Heat here for what should be a fun one.
The last time Miami came to town, the Wizards opened the game with a 43-point first quarter that saw them shoot 77% and build a 25-point lead. It was the most lopsided first quarter of the season and against the Heat no less. The Heat would make a run in the second half, but the Wizards went on to shoot 55% from the field for the game and won handily, 114-97.
It's safe to say we probably won't be up 25 after the first tonight, but the key to that game was ball movement and limiting turnovers. The Heat love to play fast and are excellent in transition, but they can struggle in the half court and really struggle on the boards. If the Wizards want to split the season series, they'll need to attack the Heat inside and own the paint.
That may be easier tonight than the last time they played in Miami, as both LeBron James and Chris Bosh are going to be held out as they get some added rest before the playoffs this weekend. Miami is still technically alive for the top seed, but it seems that their head coach Erik Spoelstra is putting more importance on rest than fighting for that top spot with Indiana. All the Pacers have to do is beat Orlando in Orlando on Wednesday and they will clinch, regardless of what Miami does in their final two games.
So, no LeBron, no Bosh. Maybe a limited Wade. Hopefully that doesn't mean the Wizards take a sigh of relief as they'll still need to bring it against some of the Heat role players. The Wiz have struggled against some of the lesser teams this season, and the Heat without their stars could qualify into that category.
More from Wittman Pregame
Casey talked to Bradley Beal this morning at shootaorund for what kind of game to expect tonight and how he plans to take on a "limited Wade" tonight:
As for the playoff scenarios, if the Wizards win tonight they'll have a chance at locking up the six seed. They would need the Bobcats to lose in Atlanta for that to happen. If both teams win, the Wiz will have a one game lead with one game to play on Wednesday. A Wizards win tonight would also lock up Indiana as the one seed and Miami as the two.
For more on the scenarios, check out the scenario blog.
We'll be live chatting tonight at 7 from Verizon Center