The Wizards took care of business on Wednesday night against a short-handed Miami Heat team playing without Dwyane Wade. Prior to the game, Randy Wittman and several Wizards players talked about being the aggressors from the tip, and Washington did that in a 106-87 win at the Verizon Center.
Bradley Beal scored a game-high 18 points coming off the bench in his fourth game back from injury. Garrett Temple continued his strong play as a starter in Beal’s stead, playing solid defense and adding 11 points. John Wall notched another double-double, scoring 18 to go with 10 assists. He did a good job of getting Marcin Gortat and Nene involved in the offense early in the game. The big men rewarded Washington (20-21) by combining for 31 points, doing particularly well when they played together. Nene, who’s still playing on a minute restriction and usually comes off the bench, started ahead of Jared Dudley. Whether or not he will remain a starter remains a question. Gortat had a double-double adding 12 rebounds to go with 15 points.
Beal started the game slow and struggled to get separation on his shots, but he heated up as the game went on. In the third quarter, he looked to be his old self scoring nine points to help push a 14-point halftime lead to 17 going into the fourth. It was encouraging to see Beal have such a big impact without a high volume of shots from the outside. He was 1-for-3 from long range. Beal looked to penetrate and if the shot wasn’t there he didn’t force anything. It was also a good sign that Washington remained aggressive while holding a double-digit lead.
Missing the services of Wade, who sat out with shoulder soreness, and eventually losing Hasaan Whiteside in the second quarter with an apparent injury to his torso, Miami (23-20) struggled to defend a Wizards squad that moved the ball well and knocked down open shots. Washington shot .523 from the field versus just .485 for the Heat, who otherwise shot better than Washington from long range. Chris Bosh led Miami with 18, but got into early foul trouble. Luol Deng added 16 and eight rebounds. The Wizards are now 2-1 against the Heat this season with another game remaining on Feb. 20.
Washington’s inconsistency this season has been largely due to a lack of effort on the defensive end. Scoring hasn’t necessarily been an issue. The difference against Miami was Washington’s energy on both ends of the floor, however, another issue for Washington has been consistency from game to game. Washington gets a two-day rest before hosting the Utah Jazz on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. With a win, the Wizards can get back to .500. It will be the fourth game of a five-game home stand in which Washington lost the first two.
Inclement weather could cause changes to the time and, or date of Saturday’s game. In a tweet, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said any changes will be relayed through the team’s outlets. “We will monitor the forecast and consult with the NHL/NBA regarding games this weekend,” Leonsis said. “We will communicate any changes via our platforms.”