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Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Miami Heat after botched final-minute play

Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Miami Heat after botched final-minute play

The style matchup with the Miami Heat will almost always be a problem for the Wizards, and Saturday wasn’t any different as they lose for the third time in three meetings in the regular-season home finale, 106-103, at Verizon Center. It was the seventh sellout.

Markieff Morris (21 points), John Wall (16 points, eight assists) and Bradley Beal (16 points) led Washington (48-32), which has two games remaining at the Detroit Pistons and at Miami before the playoffs begin.

The Heat (39-41) kept their playoff hopes alive while Washington lost its grip on the No. 3 seed.

The Wizards couldn’t contain Hassan Whiteside (30 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks), who had help from Tyler Johnson (19 points), Goran Dragic (18 points, seven assists) and James Johnson (15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists).

James Johnson’s drive for a layup was the winning basket that put Miami ahead for good 104-103.

Beal had a chance to tie the score and force overtime at the end but couldn’t get off a clean shot as Whiteside switched onto him to prevent an attempt.

--Turnovers were the difference. Wall and Beal were turnover prone which kept Miami in the game early despite their slow start. They combined for 13 of 20 for the team and that led to 21 points the other way. Before Kelly Oubre's disastrous inbound in the final seconds, the most costly one came on a simple pass from Wall to Beal with 1:43 left. It went out of bounds.

--Otto Porter (back spasms) missed his third game of the seasons as Oubre (12 points, six rebounds) started in his place. Oubre didn’t score in the first half but his primary role was defensive. But where not having Porter hurt the Wizards most was on inbound play with 11 seconds left. He opted to lead Wall, who had gotten free of Richardson, with the pass that was errant. Wall had curled to the ball and Richardson collected it, was fouled and went to the line to make both free throws for the game’s final points.

--The Heat were switching smalls onto Morris. He made them pay for that late by making postups over Tyer Johnson and Josh Richardson (10 points, five steals). Morris scored 12 of his points in the fourth Morris, who missed the last game with a sore ankle, had a three-pointer to give the Wizards a 90-86 lead and tie the score at 100. But when Morris had to get a stop on James Johnson, he allowed the versatile forward to go downhill for what proved to be the winning basket. Johnson received the ball in the backcourt, went full speed and Morris only retreated into the paint. When Johnson made a counter move to get to his left hand, he met no resistance at the rim. Marcin Gortat wasn't able to help as he pinned himself to Whiteside to prevent a putback. 

--Dragic scored a season-high 34 points in the last meeting Dec. 12. Marked by Oubre from the opening tip, Dragic had three first-half points as he began 1-for-5. A physical, 6-5 point guard who is left-hand dominant, Dragic couldn’t get free of Oubre who is bigger and has a 7-2 wingspan. He did have a better second half but didn’t take over.

--Whiteside was a matchup problem for Gortat (11 points, 11 rebounds). Ian Mahinmi (11 points, nine rebounds, two steals) played just 18 minutes -- 11 fewer than Gortat -- and fared better. 

[RELATED: VIDEO: Projected NBA top pick Markelle Fultz goes 1-on-1]

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 


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G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

Time is nearly up for the Washington Wizards to replace Ron Baker on the active roster.

Jordan McRae made his strongest push yet for the gig.

McRae, one of the Wizards’ two-way contract players, scored 54 points for Capital City Friday night in the Go-Go’s 118-107 win over the Main Red Claws. That’s the most points scored by any G-League player this season.

Makes sense this wing guard holds the distinction. McRae leads the league in scoring with 29.5 points per game.

Finding such opportunities with Washington this season has not come as easy. McRae, a 27-year-old with prior NBA experience, scored only four points in 35 minutes over eight games for the 19-26 Wizards this season.

While shuttling back and forth between the two levels since Baker’s release on Jan. 7, the 6-foot-5 guard’s lone appearance came in the final minutes of a 17-point win over Philadelphia on Jan. 9.

For now, McRae and Devin Robinson, Washington’s other two-way contract player, offer in-case-of-emergency depth. Robinson traveled with the Wizards to London for Thursday’s win over the New York Knicks but did not play.

Someone else will join the roster soon.

League rules mandate a minimum of 14 players. Teams have two weeks to reach that number should they drop below. Washington, which kept its 15th slot open all season, did upon releasing Baker.

The Wizards could and likely will fill the void by signing a free agent to a 10-day contract. Another body would not hurt.

John Wall (heel surgery) is out for the season. Uncertain recovery timelines exist for forward Markieff Morris (neck) and center Dwight Howard (back surgery).

McRae is not an option for the 10-day scenario, but he has shown a readiness with the scorching Go-Go. Capital City has won seven of its last eight games.

“He’s done a great job staying with his development on and off the court,” Go-Go coach Jarell Christian said of McRae. “He’s our leader. For him to continue to play the right way, everyone else just falls in line.”

McRae’s scoring surge comes after he sat out last season with a shoulder injury.

“It was the first time in my life being injured. Being out for a whole year, it was tough for me,” McRae said. “Being with these guys every day, going back and forth with the Wizards, it’s tiring, but its fun. It’s my job.”

Christian offered advice on the key for McRae should the Wizards eventually turn McRae’s contract from a two-way to an NBA deal and set him loose on the court.

“I think it’s just about his mentality. When he's thrown into a game on the next level, still being able to function without getting the ball every possession. Being a floor spacer and continue to play defense,” Christian said. “He’s taken initiatives in some games and become the best defender on the team. I think every team wants somebody who wants to take that initiative and become a lockdown defender.”