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Wizards' comeback falls short against Heat, 91-88
Washington rallied from down 25, but ultimately fell short late in the fourth quarter
After taking the first game of a home-and-home series with the Heat on Wednesday, the Wizards rallied from down 25 points on Friday, but could not complete the comeback after Bradley Beal's jump shot fell short with 2.6 seconds to go. Beal scored a game-high 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and anchored the Wizards' comeback in the 91-88 loss. Hassan Whiteside's 22 points and 16 rebounds and James Johnson's 20 points off the bench paced the Heat to victory.Photos | Box Score
The Wizards simply started flat in the first half, scoring only 29 points to Miami's 50. Washington only shot 12-of-42 (28.6%) from the floor in the opening half, missing all 13 3-pointers. The Wizards turned it over nine times and lacked energy and effort in what was an overall team struggle. The Heat would open up a 25-point lead in the second quarter and go into the half up 21. At the half, it appeared the Wizards had dug themselves too deep of a hole early.
Out of the locker room, the Wizards came right back with a 10-3 run to gain some momentum in the second half. Beal started to heat up in the third, scoring 14 of his 26 points in the period. Jason Smith, who had not seen time in recent games, gave the Wizards a big boost of energy off the bench when he entered with 2:58 left in the third. The Wizards held the Heat to only 5-of-20 (25.0%) shooting in the third quarter and won the quarter 28-16. Washington would be within nine points heading into the fourth, in much better pressure than 12 game minutes earlier.
In the fourth quarter, the Wizards were chipping away defensively, with Kelly Oubre Jr. and Smith putting a lot of pressure on the Heat's now stagnant offense. When Whiteside checked back in, the Heat began to get some offense going again, but the Wizards hung in there. John Wall, who was held scoreless until 5:25 left in the game, came to life with eight points and three assists, and would hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:11 to go to bring the game within three points. Now within realistic striking range, the Wizards traded 3-pointers with the Heat and would get the ball down three with 17.3 seconds to go.
Wall missed a 3-pointer, but Otto Porter Jr. rebounded the ball and drew a foul with 11.3 seconds left. Porter hit both free throws to bring the game within one point. The Wizards wasted some time trying to foul the Heat out of the timeout, and James Johnson hit one of two free throws with 6.5 seconds left as the Heat now led by two. Beal would take the last shot for the Wizards looking to tie it, but missed a midrange jump shot with 2.6 seconds to go. Miami rebounded the ball and would secure the victory, 91-88.
After the Wizards had been exceptional the paint defensively during their four-game winning streak, the Heat dominated them on Friday night. The Heat scored 46 points (23-of-38) to the Wizards' 28 (14-of-34 shooting) and out-rebounded the Wizards 52-46. Marcin Gortat had 11 points and 13 rebounds in his 27-plus minutes and Smith played a pivotal role in the second half, but Whiteside was still too much to handle with 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.
Beal's performance was once again at All-Star level for the Wizards. After he only scored four points on 2-of-7 shooting in the first half, Beal had 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting in the second half, including five 3-pointers. Beal was scoring everywhere and put in almost 40 minutes of tough work, especially on the glass with his first double-double of the season.
The Wizards (9-6) will head to Toronto to start a three-game road trip before Thanksgiving. Tip is set for 3:30pm on Sunday against the Raptors.