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Wizards storm back, but lose to Heat as Bradley Beal's final shot rims out

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Wizards storm back, but lose to Heat as Bradley Beal's final shot rims out

The Washington Wizards lost the Miami Heat 91-88 on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Here's analysis of what went down...

Burn the tape: After holding on to win in Miami on Wednesday, the Wizards knew it would be a difficult task beating the Heat twice in a span of three days. Sure enough, the Heat played much better and the Wizards, well, they played much worse.

Despite winning on Wednesday, the third quarter was the Wizards' worst of the season. On Friday, they had their worst half in several years. They managed just 29 points, their lowest since they scored 27 against the Warriors on March 23, 2015. It was the second-lowest points for any NBA team in a half this season. The Heat held the Jazz to 25 in a half on Nov. 10.

The Wizards couldn't get shots to fall and didn't have their usual pace and movement on offense. They shot just 38.1 percent for the game and 28.6 for three. They went 0-for-13 from three in the first half. They will want to move past this one very quickly.

The Wizards were down as much as 25 points and stormed back to make it a one-point game with 11.3 seconds left. Bradley Beal, though, missed a shot that would have tied the game in the closing seconds when they were down two.

The Wizards dropped to 9-6 on the year with the loss. On the bright side, the Wizards have kept their opponents to under 100 points in each of those games, their longest such streak since 2015.


Wall was way off: Friday was an off-night for John Wall that you rarely see. He went scoreless in the first three quarters and didn't score his first points until he got a three to go down with 5:25 left in the fourth. Wall finished 3-for-12 from the field and finished with eight points and eight assists.

Wall was not his usual self in many ways. He wasn't alone, as many guys shot poorly, but Wall is one of the most consistent players in the NBA.

The Heat did a good job of preventing dribble penetration and stopping Wall on the fastbreak. That's how he generates a lot of his offense and credit to Miami for taking it away.

After the game, Wall revealed that his left knee was bothering him due to fluid that has built up following IVs he was given last weekend.

Beal woke up late: Beal had the best night of anyone on the Wizards, but it didn't start out that way. He had just six points midway through the third quarter before he got going. Once he did, there wasn't much the Heat could do to stop him.

Beal almost singlehandedly made this a game with a barrage of threes at the end of the third quarter. He hit three of them and two of them were right in the faces of Heat players guarding him.

This was his best three during that sequence:

Beal ended up with 26 points on 9-for-22 shooting.

Smith played for a change: With the Wizards down double digits in the third quarter, head coach Scott Brooks turned to a guy we haven't seen much from this year. Yes, Jason Smith finally got some burn.

Smith hadn't played in three straight games and had logged just 12 total minutes in the last seven. But he provided instant energy like he usually does. Smith converted an and-1 in the third quarter and came back with a layup in the fourth on a goaltending call. 

Smith didn't exactly shut down Hassan Whiteside (22 points, 16 rebounds), but the Wizards' other bigs didn't have much luck either.

Olynyk welcomed back: When Kelly Olynyk checked in for the Heat in the first half, he was met with a cascade of boos. It was his first game at Capital One Arena since the second round playoff series last spring between the Wizards and Celtics. Even now that he's in a different uniform, Wizards fans can't stand the guy.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before hitting the road. They first stop in Toronto for a 3:30 game on Sunday. They play the Bucks in Milwaukee the next day in their first back-to-back set of the 2017-18 season. Both games are on NBC Sports Washington.


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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired


Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired

On the newest banner that hangs from the rafters at Capital One Arena, a small microphone - embroidered with a white 33 - is subtly stitched into the bottom left corner. 

You'd barely notice it was there; Phil Chenier certainly didn't.

Chenier, who had his #45 jersey retired tonight during halftime of tonight's Wizards-Nuggets game, didn't even notice the mic, added to signify his three decades as a broadcaster with the team.

"I had no idea there was even a mic on it," Chenier said, laughing. "I'll have to go back out and look at it some more."

Despite the Wizards' 108-100 loss, the night was first and foremost a celebration of Chenier - the 5th player in franchise history to have his number rasied in the rafters. He joins Earl Monroe, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, and Wes Unseld as the only players to achieve the honor so far.

"To be up there with the other 4 names means a lot – people I had the fortune of playing with," he added. "I remember my first day of practice and I had just watched this team play in the finals and now I’m plopped down with Wes Unfeld and Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson. It seemed like they accepted me from the get go."

Many from that 1978 Championship team were in attendance on Friday night, watching as one of their teammates cemented his professional legacy. For Chenier, that acceptance as an All-Time Bullets great is at the core of why he played the game.

"You know, when you play this game, you play for acceptance," he said. "You want to be the best, you want to be accepted. Having players and childhood friends – and of course, your family – here, you’re surrounded by so many people that meant a lot to you both before and now. It’s a really humbling feeling.”

It was hard to find someone in DC without something good to say about Chenier on Friday night. Even in the basement of Capital One Center, after the Wizards' fifth loss in seven games, head coach Scott Brooks took a moment out of his press conference to praise Chenier. 

"[Chenier] is a great ambassador and we all love him," Brooks said. "It's well deserved. It's going to be pretty cool seeing his jersey every time we step into this building."

Fans left the arena with a commemorative Phil Chenier cut out. Phil Chenier left the arena with his number retired. The experience was, according to the man himself, everything he thought it'd be. 

"You don’t know what the emotions are going to be..." he told media members after the ceremony."...Obviously it’s something I thought about, but it really was exciting to see the 45 up there and my name."

Then Chenier cracked a smile.

"I’m glad it’s over with."