Morning tip: Basic principles of defense elude Wizards in loss


This record is as old as it is broken: The Wizards can't cover the pick-and-roll properly, and an offensively challenged team such as the Miami Heat simply relies on that action or straight isolations to get buckets.

The Heat (8-17) have scored 114 and 112 points in two wins in both meetings this season. Goran Dragic had a season-high 34 points. James Johnson came off the bench for 14 points.

They did it by unconventional standards in today's NBA, which has gone away from isolations in favor of more motion and ball movement on offense. 

"James Johnson came in the game, he changed the game with his aggressive play on both ends of the floor," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "All they were doing was just isolate and attacking. Dragic did the same thing, isolate and attack."

The perimeter defense for the Wizards (9-14) has been so sub-par that there's no need to get too creative with the offensive schemes. Just go at them and high-percentage shots are likely to come open.  

Teams aren't forced to go to their second or third option. The first one usually is the charm pending who and how they attack. 

"He got a lot of easy looks," Bradley Beal said of Dragic. "We were trying to figure out what we want to do with him on pick-and-rolls, and James Johnson."

The Heat used a small lineup with Johnson at center. Instead of Dragic setting up the pick-and-roll, it was Johnson as the initator and it caught the Wizards on their heels.


Johnson shot 6-of-9 from the field and had three assists, a role he had for most of the fourth quarter to help Miami regain the lead. 

"Never really dealt with a four or a five playing pick-and-roll, handling the ball, playing small the way they were," Beal said. 

Dragic overcame four fouls early in the third quarter as coach Erik Spoelstra mixed and matched his lineups. Dragic was too much to handle. The fundamentals by the Wizards were lacking which is why they failed to establish their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Instead of being more physical with their defense, the Wizards allowed the offense for the Heat to bully them. They got to the spots they wanted on the floor. They created the contact. They had the game played on their terms which was how they overcame 59 combined points from Beal and John Wall.

"We tried to go small. We tried to go big. We switched a lot," Brooks said. "We were getting beat off the dribble too much."

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' letdown vs. Heat]