Wizards

Wizards

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Miami Heat 123-105 at Capital One Arena on Monday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks wondered before Monday's game where he would find offense with Bradley Beal out again due to injury. He found it in an unexpected place.

With most of the Wizards' rotation in suits on the bench, Ian Mahinmi, Garrison Mathews, and Jordan McRae stepped up to combine for 82 points in a stunning win over the Miami Heat.

Mahinmi had 25, Mathews added 28 and McRae poured in 29. The first two were more surprising than the third, of course.

The Wizards moved to 10-22 on the year. This was arguably their most impressive win given the opponent (Miami is very good) and the circumstances (seven players injured).

2. What has gotten into Mahinmi?

The big man has been playing quite easily his best basketball since signing with the Wizards back in 2016, that infamous $64 million free-agent contract. The first three years were plagued by injury and poor production, but he has certainly made the most of his opportunity in Year 4.

Mahinmi has played solid defense and lately has brought it on the offensive end as well. His 25 points were a career-high and so were the two threes he knocked down.

Perhaps it has something to do with this being a contract year for Mahinmi, who at 33 is likely hoping to extend his NBA career. The Wizards certainly could have used this version of him the past three seasons.

 

3. Mathews' career-high entering this game was six points and he had 20 by halftime. He just caught fire and by the time he did, there wasn't anything Miami could to do stop him as he does a very good job running off screens and releasing the ball quickly.

Mathews also has a shooting motion where he kicks his legs out in front of him and that led to him getting fouled on three-point shots three times. He got to the line 13 times in total and knocked down 12 of them. The free throws afforded Wizards fans the chance to give him some audible 'MVP' chants in the fourth quarter.

But the threes stood out most. Mathews made four in this game and some of them from deep range. It was a performance reminiscent of his teammate, Davis Bertans, who is among the Wizards players currently injured.

Mathews doing this against the Heat had a tad bit of irony in that a model for what the Wizards hope he can become plays for Miami. Like Mathews, Duncan Robinson started out as an undrafted player on a two-way contract. This year Robinson has blossomed into one of the best young shooters in the NBA. 

He plays the same position and is about the same size. Maybe Mathews can become the next version of Robinson, who entered this game shooting 46.5 percent from three on 7.1 attempts per game.

4. McRae has been with the Wizards long enough that we know one thing for sure about him and that is he can provide instant offense off the bench. We haven't seen him do that in important games, as the Wizards haven't really played any since they acquired him. But when they need scoring, like they did on Monday, he can deliver.

McRae has a Lou Williams/Jamal Crawford way about him on offense where he may not be the most athletic or fastest player, but when he scores he makes it look easy. He is smooth and natural with his shot, which was falling over and over against the Heat.

McRae shot 9-for-14 overall and 6-for-8 from three on Monday. The Heat even had Jimmy Butler guard him and McRae didn't slow down. 

5. All the Wizards injuries have still yet to open the door for rookie Justin Robinson.

Rather than consolidate his rotation with so many players out, Brooks has expanded it, using nearly everyone on the roster. But Robinson was the only player who saw zero time on the floor.

Gary Payton II continues to see heavy minutes as the starting shooting guard. And with Isaiah Thomas starting at the point, Ish Smith has seen all the minutes as his back-up. That has left Robinson as the odd-man-out.

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