The shot at 50 wins went out the window the moment the Wizards lost last week to the Miami Heat, a game they had in hand at home. Wednesday, they closed the regular season in Miami in a game that meant nothing to them in terms of playoff position and coach Scott Brooks rested three of his starters.
The Wizards (49-33) lost for the fourth time in four meetings with the Heat, 110-102. They also lost to them 106-103 on Saturday at Verizon Center.
Marcin Gortat (16 points, five rebounds) and Otto Porter (11 points, six rebounds) were the only regulars to start, and they were joined by Kelly Oubre (eight points, three steals), Trey Burke (27 points) and Sheldon McClellan (18 points).
They led the Heat by six points but by the mid-point of the second quarter Hassan Whiteside (24 points, 18 rebounds) got his team its first lead 38-36 that would never subside. Goran Dragic (28 points), Josh Richardson (15 points), James Johnson (12 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) and Willie Reed (16 points, six rebounds) alone were too much firepower to overcome.
The Heat (41-41) was in a must-win to qualify for the postseason after an 11-30 start but needed help. Wins by the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, however, eliminated them.
--Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal didn’t get their wish. Both wanted to play but Brooks held them out. John Wall missed his second game in a row but this time the reason given was rest. The previous game it was because of a left thigh contusion. That’s progress.
--Daniel Ochefu (eight points, 17 minutes) got his first real minutes of the season, playing against a team that desperately needed to win. He entered in the third quarter to play against Willie Reed. In his previous 18 appearances, Ochefu never played more than 11 minutes and that came Dec. 23 in a 27-point blowout loss in Milwaukee.
--Porter had been out with back spasms, having missed the previous two games, but he was working out a lot two days ago in Detroit and looked able to play. He came out quickly to get six points and five rebounds in the first quarter. The only thing that slowed him down was fouls. He had to leave with two before the second quarter began.
--A better version of Burke appeared than in the previous game, when Wall rested and he was in line for more time. Burke only played eight minutes and was lost defensively so there was a quick hook. He was more focused tonight as he had his best game since he scored a season-high 27 points vs. Brooklyn.
--Chris McCullough played for the second time since being acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline from Brooklyn. He logged seven minutes, grabbed two rebounds and had one steal.