The Washington Wizards beat the Miami Heat 116-110 on Saturday night. Here are five observations from the game...
Bleeding stopped: The Heat have drawn rave reviews for their 'Miami Vice' special edition court; its pink, teal and black design so unique and crisp it pops off the TV screen like a work of art. No one may like the court better than the Wizards.
On Saturday night, it was in Miami that the Wizards found a momentary rebirth. Following a 2-9 start and a pair of disaster losses to bad teams, the Wizards rode a big second half to secure their third victory of the season.
The Wizards are still six games under .500 and can't feel great about their 3-9 record. But this was a nice way to end a tough road trip as they return to D.C. for a five-game home stretch.
Rivers got his swag back: One of the strangest parts of the first several weeks of this Wizards season has been Austin Rivers' complete lack of confidence and aggressiveness on offense. Whether it be an adjustment to fewer minutes and a bench role, or being on a new team in general, Rivers just hasn't had the swagger he has long been known for.
Rivers doesn't always make his shots, but he's usually reliable to take them. This season, however, he has been mostly lost, deferring to others and with the body language to suggest it's wearing on him.
A different version of Rivers showed up in Miami. He showed no hesitation attacking the rim and finished creatively with both hands. He had a season-high 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
It was just the second time this season Rivers has reached double figures in points. His 10 single-digit scoring nights are almost as many as he had all of last season (12).
In 2017-18, he averaged a career-best 15.1 points for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Wizards thought he would change games with his scoring off the bench. Finally, he did that.
Perhaps this will build him up a little bit and lead to more assertiveness moving forward.
Green gave them a lift: Jeff Green had an awful start to this game. He came in and quickly turned the ball over at the end of the first quarter when he seemingly lost track of the time left on the clock.
But Green recovered and ended up with his best game as a Wizard so far. Offensively, he was brilliant. Green poured in 19 points off the bench to go along with 10 rebounds. He shot 8-for-12 from the field and 2-for-4 from three.
Green was brought to Washington to provide scoring off the bench in the role Mike Scott performed so well in last year. So far this season, that impact hasn't always been there, but on Saturday Green was a major factor and was as responsible for the win as anyone.
They rebounded!: The Wizards entered this game sporting an ominous streak. They had been out-rebounded in all 11 of their games this season.
That was the longest such streak for the franchise since 1991 and it was nearly halfway towards the NBA record of 23.
But on this night, the Wizards took care of business on the glass. They won the rebounding battle 48-to-38. Their 17 offensive rebounds were a season-high.
Now, it wasn't a perfect performance. There were plenty of moments where the Wizards forgot to box out and let up rebounds when Heat players had no business getting them. But this game represented progress in an area of serious weakness for Washington.
Dwight Howard led the effort with 16 boards, including seven on the offensive end. He had nine in the third quarter alone.
Mahinmi was back: After getting benched for the past three games, Ian Mahinmi was back in the Wizards' rotation. The veteran center actually played fairly well, at least early.
Soon after he entered the game, Mahinmi had perhaps his best sequence of the season. He blocked a Tyler Johnson layup in transition, then secured a tough offensive rebound off a Kelly Oubre Jr. miss and put it back in for two.
Mahinmi ended up with six points, two rebounds and a block in 14 minutes. Since head coach Scott Brooks isn't overt with his lineup changes, we'll have to see what happens in the next few games. If Mahinmi is back in the mix moving forward, then it was just a temporary benching.
But just because he played one game, doesn't mean he has earned his job back. Brooks may have liked the matchup between him and Miami's bigs.
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