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Wizards' loss to Miami Heat was very uncharacteristic for how they have operated recently

Wizards' loss to Miami Heat was very uncharacteristic for how they have operated recently

It had been a long time since the Wizards lost one as bad as they did against the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

Their 27-point defeat was their most lopsided since Dec. 22 when they fell to the Nets by 35 points. It was their first loss of 20 points or more since the Hornets took them out by 24 back on Jan. 17.

Basically, this was their worst effort in months.

"It’s unacceptable that we came out with the effort that we did," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We have a lot of pride in our locker room, but we didn’t come out with it tonight."


The Miami Heat are an offensively challenged team. They entered the matchup 28th in the NBA in points per game. Yet they had dropped a season-high 129 points on the Wizards.

The Heat had 103 points after three quarters despite averaging just 102 per game for the season. It was that bad.

Despite the fact the Heat were missing their star center Hassan Whiteside, the Wizards couldn't stop them down low. The Heat had a ridiculous 76 points in the paint compared to 42 for the Wizards. 

The Heat had a field day on offense. Eight different players reached double figures and Miami shot 59.1 percent as a team. It was their second-best shooting night of the season.


The Wizards couldn't stop the ball at the perimeter and once the Heat's wings got into the lane it was too late. And there appeared to be no communication for help defense to counter.

"They got whatever they wanted," guard Bradley Beal said. "Just a lack of effort and a lack of pride."

The Wizards esssentially fell back into all the bad habits that plagued them in December and January, right before they went on their recent surge since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. It was the second game of a back-to-back, as they beat the Pelicans the night before, but they even said that was no excuse.

They are still 11-7 since Wall went out, but what happened in Miami is something they had been able to avoid for nearly six weeks. While Wall has been sidelined, the Wizards have been in every game. They have won most of them and when they have lost, they have put up an admirable fight. That was not the case by any means on Saturday.


The Wizards struggled on offense, too. Without Wall they have been drawn attention for their passing. In this game they had just 22 assists, their second-lowest total in their 18 games without Wall. They also had five turnovers in the first quarter, which helped the Heat take advantage early and never look back.

Wall is well on his way to returning, but has yet to practice. At this point his recovery timeline is still a matter of weeks, not days. The Wizards have proven they can compete without him, but in order to do so they have to do pretty much the opposite of what they did on Saturday night.

The schedule isn't letting up any time soon. Their next five opponents are currently holding playoff spots and that includes the Celtics, the No. 2 team in the East, and the Pacers who the Wizards would face if the playoffs begin today. They Wizards will also be playing Indiana for the season series and therefore the playoff tiebreaker.

They need to put this loss behind them and prove it was an aberration, not a reversion back to the problems that plagued them earlier this year.

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Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth and final foul with the score tied. 

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for.

He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That game was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.