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A home-and-home set with the Heat
The Wizards head to Miami for the road portion of their home-and-home series with the Heat.
AmericanAirlines Arena | 7:30 p.m. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards (8-5): G - Wall, G - Beal, F - Porter Jr., F - Morris, C - Gortat
Heat (6-7): G - Dragic, G - Waiters, F - Richardson, F - Winslow, C - Whiteside
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Achilles - Out)
Heat: Rodney McGruder (Leg - Out), Okaro White (Foot - Out)
The Heat were the only Eastern Conference team to sweep the Wizards last season, winning all four games in the season series. Washington has now lost five straight to Miami, with their last road win coming in December of 2015. They played the Heat tough last year, but for whatever reason they were the one team they just couldn't find a way to get a victory. They'll have two chances to end this streak this week, as tonight is just the first game of a home-and-home set, with the Wiz hosting Miami on Friday in DC.
In the Wizards last three games against Miami, the Heat scored at least 50 points in the paint, something they'll need to limit to try and get a win tonight. Between Hassan Whiteside's presence at the center spot and their guards' ability to get to the rim, Washington will need their interior defenders to impose their will and avoid letting the Heat find easy buckets inside.
Defense Back to Form
The Wizards have now won three straight and four of their last five, and what may have been more impressive was that in all four wins they held their opponent to under 100 points. They didn't have a streak holding teams under 100 of more than two all of last year, and with how this season began, this has been an encouraging sign for the defense. The fact that they played some of the more offensively challenged teams over this stretch has to be noted, but the Wizards still went out and got the job done, which was something needed after a 5-5 start. They'll have a tougher test tonight with Miami, a team they struggled against last season, so they'll need another strong defensive effort to find a way to get a win. The Heat have shot at least 45 percent against the Wizards in 14 straight games.
Heat Return Home
The Heat return home after wrapping up their six-game road trip on Saturday in Detroit. They went 3-3 on the trip, picking up wins in Utah, Phoenix, and L.A. (Clippers). The Wizards saw this Heat team last month in Miami in the preseason, but they rested Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, and Dion Waiters, their three leading scorers.
This is a deep Heat team and some of these reserves have hurt the Wizards in the past, so look for the battle of the second units to be key in this one tonight.
Up next, the Wizards play the home portion of their home-and-home series with the Heat on Friday in DC. (7:00 p.m.)