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Wizards, Heat enter rematch chilly and battered


Wizards, Heat enter rematch chilly and battered

Matchup: Washington Wizards (19-21) vs. Miami Heat (23-19)

When: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. (TV: CSN, CSNMidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra) 

Season series: 1-1 with each team winning on the road.

When we last met: The Wizards have lost five of their last six home games. The downturn started when the Heat entered Chinatown and delivered a 97-75 beatdown on Jan. 3 as Miami forward Chris Bosh scored 23 points. Washington had just seven points in the second quarter and shot a miserable 4 of 30 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Streaks: The last two home losses, including Monday's 108-98 loss against the 3-point shooting Portland Trail Blazers, came after Washington reached .500 at 19-19. ...Things went south for Miami shortly after throttling Washington. The Heat have lost two straight and five of six including Tuesday's 91-79 setback against the Milwaukee Bucks in Miami.

Three things to know:

What's the plan: The two previous games with Miami have been similar only in that the Wizards and Heat played in each. Washington took command in the first meeting which it eventually won 114-103 with a small ball approach in part because center Marcin Gortat didn't dress. Miami countered in the rematch and then controlled the game thanks to the interior defensive of center Hassan Whiteside. "It was a huge adjustment when we played them," forward Jared Dudley explained at Tuesday's practice about the loss earlier this month. "With not having Gortat (in the first meeting) we had to go small. They countered the last time we played here. They actually subbed Bosh out early, brought Luol Deng, they started switching picks 1 through  4. Whiteside controlled that game from start to finish. Now coming back, having a scorer like Brad [Beal], having Nene, teams are going to switch 1 through 4 because with my shooting and our spacing the floor with John attacking it’s easier to defend like that. We have to be able to find different loopholes and different angles to be able to score in the half-court set when teams do that. Two different styles."

Heat chilled: Miami isn't just losing, but getting hammered. Those five losses in the last six games are by an average 14.8 points. In their last two games, both losses, the Heat trailed by at least 22 points and scored less than 80. Against the Bucks, they shot a season-low 36.5 percent from the field.

Who's playing?: That's a standard question for the Wizards these days and one we may have a handle on in advance. Head coach Randy Wittman already declared forward Otto Porter, Kris Humphries and Drew Gooden out for Wednesday. That doesn't mean others won't sit as well. No matter who plays, Gortat has a plan of attack that's beyond mere X's and O's. "We got to make shots, first thing," the big man said Tuesday. "Each one of us has to do the stuff we’re supposed to do, play hard, play defense, have a passion. Play with a character and have concentration from the first minute and just come out like you’re trying to devastate and just destroy the guy who’s standing in front of you. We got to come out and just compete. You got to outhustle, outplay the guy whose guarding you. If each one of us is going to do that we’re going to be a better team."

Meanwhile, Miami played Milwaukee without four players, including point guards Goran Dragic and Beno Udrih.

[RELATED: Morning tip: Wizards miss chance at more rest for Wall]

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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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