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Wizards face Heat tonight in Miami
The Wizards (7-13) are in Miami tonight, taking on a Heat (15-6) team that has yet to lose a home game this season. Washington is looking to build some momentum after one of the team’s most impressive outings of the season, a 119-113 win last night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
AmericanAirlines Arena | 8:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Ish Smith, G – Bradley Beal, F – Isaac Bonga, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Moritz Wagner
Heat: G – Kendrick Nunn, G – Duncan Robinson, F – Jimmy Butler, F – Bam Adebayo, C – Meyers Leonard
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (right foot stress reaction – out), Ian Mahinmi (right Achilles strain – out), Jordan McRae (right ring finger – out) C.J. Miles (left wrist ligament injury – out), Isaiah Thomas (left calf strain – out), John Wall (left Achilles rehab – out)
Heat: Goran Dragic (right groin strain – out), KZ Okpala (left Achilles strain – out), Justise Winslow (lower back strain – questionable)
Bertans powers Wizards bench in win
Another dazzling shooting display from Davis Bertans helped the Wizards overcome an early deficit to Philadelphia last night. Bertans’s first half performance was one of the best short-spurt shooting runs the league has seen this year. He finished the first half with 22 points on 8-8 from the field and 6-6 from 3-point range, becoming the first player since Justin Holiday on November 16, 2018 to make at least six threes in the first half of a game without a miss. Bertans was the first Wizards player to make at least six threes in any half without a miss since Trevor Ariza went 7-7 from three on March 1, 2014.
Bertans’s hot streak came at the right time, too. The Wizards trailed by 10 when he entered the game late in the first quarter. Seventeen minutes of game action and six 3-pointers later, Bertans’s off the bench spark propelled the Wizards to a double-digit lead of their own at halftime. Bertans had a +20 rating in the second quarter alone, scoring 19 of his season-high 25 points. He has now scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Wizards continue to battle injuries through back-to-back
The Wizards’ injury report merry-go-round continued to spin Thursday night against Philadelphia. Washington welcomed back Mortiz Wagner and Ian Mahinmi against the Sixers, but lost Jordan McRae and Isaiah Thomas. Wagner, who missed the two previous game with a left ankle sprain, scored five points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Mahinmi made his season debut after missing the first month rehabbing an Achilles strain, totaling seven points and five rebounds in 13 minutes. He will sit out Friday's game for injury management on a back-to-back. McRae is expected to miss two weeks after right ring finger surgery while Thomas will miss his second straight game with a left calf strain. The Wizards are already without Thomas Bryant, C.J. Miles and John Wall.
Depth could play a factor Friday night. Miami’s roster includes eight players averaging at least 20 minutes per game. The Heat will be coming off a day’s rest while Washington looks to fend off fatigue from last night’s physical outing against Philadelphia. This is the Wizards’ third back-to-back of the season, having split each of their prior back-to-backs 1-1.
Heat dominating teams at home
To this point in the season, the Heat have been the best home team in the league by a wide margin. Overall, Miami ranks 10th in the league with a 5.0 net rating, but in the team’s eight home games, the Heat’s 16.9 net rating is tops in the league. Compare that to some of the overall net ratings of some of the best teams in the league: the Milwaukee Bucks (12.3) trail by over four points while the Lakers (8.4) and Mavericks (8.3), who rank second and third, are doubled up by Miami’s home rating. Miami is averaging over 12 more points per game at home (118.8 to 106.2) and shooting more than six percentage points higher from the field at home (51.4% to 45.1%).
Most importantly, the numbers are translating to wins. The Heat are 8-0 at home this season and are winning by an average of 18.1 points per game. While their home schedule thus far has been relatively soft – Houston is their only home win over a team with a winning record – the Heat deserve credit for taking care of the teams put in front of them.