It had been a long time since the Wizards lost one as bad as they did against the Miami Heat on Saturday night.
Their 27-point defeat was their most lopsided since Dec. 22 when they fell to the Nets by 35 points. It was their first loss of 20 points or more since the Hornets took them out by 24 back on Jan. 17.
Basically, this was their worst effort in months.
"It’s unacceptable that we came out with the effort that we did," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We have a lot of pride in our locker room, but we didn’t come out with it tonight."
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The Miami Heat are an offensively challenged team. They entered the matchup 28th in the NBA in points per game. Yet they had dropped a season-high 129 points on the Wizards.
The Heat had 103 points after three quarters despite averaging just 102 per game for the season. It was that bad.
Despite the fact the Heat were missing their star center Hassan Whiteside, the Wizards couldn't stop them down low. The Heat had a ridiculous 76 points in the paint compared to 42 for the Wizards.
The Heat had a field day on offense. Eight different players reached double figures and Miami shot 59.1 percent as a team. It was their second-best shooting night of the season.
The Wizards couldn't stop the ball at the perimeter and once the Heat's wings got into the lane it was too late. And there appeared to be no communication for help defense to counter.
"They got whatever they wanted," guard Bradley Beal said. "Just a lack of effort and a lack of pride."
The Wizards esssentially fell back into all the bad habits that plagued them in December and January, right before they went on their recent surge since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. It was the second game of a back-to-back, as they beat the Pelicans the night before, but they even said that was no excuse.
They are still 11-7 since Wall went out, but what happened in Miami is something they had been able to avoid for nearly six weeks. While Wall has been sidelined, the Wizards have been in every game. They have won most of them and when they have lost, they have put up an admirable fight. That was not the case by any means on Saturday.
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The Wizards struggled on offense, too. Without Wall they have been drawn attention for their passing. In this game they had just 22 assists, their second-lowest total in their 18 games without Wall. They also had five turnovers in the first quarter, which helped the Heat take advantage early and never look back.
Wall is well on his way to returning, but has yet to practice. At this point his recovery timeline is still a matter of weeks, not days. The Wizards have proven they can compete without him, but in order to do so they have to do pretty much the opposite of what they did on Saturday night.
The schedule isn't letting up any time soon. Their next five opponents are currently holding playoff spots and that includes the Celtics, the No. 2 team in the East, and the Pacers who the Wizards would face if the playoffs begin today. They Wizards will also be playing Indiana for the season series and therefore the playoff tiebreaker.
They need to put this loss behind them and prove it was an aberration, not a reversion back to the problems that plagued them earlier this year.
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