In a game that lacked the energy of the first two meetings, the more injured team (Wizards) dealt with the lesser injured team (Miami Heat) convincingly. It produced the most lopsided result 106-87 as Washington won for just the second time in the last six games at Verizon Center on Wednesday night in front of 17,008.
John Wall (18 points, 10 assists) and Bradley Beal (18 points) led six players scoring in double figures for Washington, including Nene (16 points, six rebounds, five steals), Marcin Gortat (15 points, 12 rebounds), Garrett Temple (11 points) and Jared Dudley (10 points).
Just as important for the Wizards (20-21), they lead the season series 2-1 which could come into play with tiebreakers considering how close everyone in the East standings is below the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Miami (23-20), which has lost three in a row and six of seven, were led by Chris Bosh (18 points) and Luol Deng (16).
- Nene made the start for the first time at power forward instead of Dudley. The move made sense, even though pairing him in the last game vs. the Trail Blazers was disastrous because there was no spacing for the offense. The Heat had Hassan Whiteside, Bosh and Deng in the starting lineup so more size was needed. Nene and Gortat combined to score half of the Wizards' 26 first-quarter points to get them out to a good start. Nene's 26 minutes were one above his season high.
- Whiteside went down without contact with 6:18 left in the second quarter and didn't return because of a left oblique muscle (on the side) strain. The Heat trailed 37-31 at the time but without his shot-blocking presence in the middle and Dwyane Wade (sore shoulders) already being out made this one a wrap early. The Heat lack scoring depth on the bench, especially shooting.
- Wall stayed on on the floor with Gortat up almost 20 with less than four minutes left -- long after Heat coach Erik Spoelstra conceded the game with his reserves. Wall, who was given off practice and didn't shoot around with the team Wednesday morning, played 44 and 36 minutes in the previous two games. He logged 32 minutes but probably could've been kept to less than 30.
- Beal didn't settle for just jump shots. He kept his dribble alive, used lots of hesitation moves and was able to get into the paint to score. He made most of his shots at the rim, converting 4 of 6 in the paint (shot chart).
- The difference in this outcome was shooters. Despite both teams having a heavy dose of injuries, the Wizards have scorers off the bench like Gary Neal, Ramon Sessions and Dudley or Temple (both have been starters recently but actually are backups). Miami, though they got off to a good start, are struggling when players like Wade go down because Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson aren't reliable shooters. Winslow made half of his eight shots but those buckets game in garbage time. Richardson was 2 of 7.