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Recap: Shorthanded Wizards lose to Heat 128-124
FINAL: Wizards 124 | Heat 128
Wizards: Garrison Mathews (22), Deni Avdija (20), Rui Hachimura (17)
Heat: Tyler Herro (31), Jimmy Butler (26), Goran Dragic (21)
The Wizards were defeated by the Heat 128-124 on Saturday night at Capital One Arena in the first of three consecutive home games. Garrison Mathews (22 points) and Deni Avdija (20 points) led the way for Washington while Miami’s Tyler Herro scored a game-high 31.
The Wizards were playing without their star guards, Bradley Beal (health and safety protocols) and Russell Westbrook (left quadriceps soreness). Beal leads the league with 35.0 points per game while Westbrook is tied for the league lead with 11.3 assists per game.
From the start, it didn’t get any easier for the Wizards. Just 1:53 into the first quarter, Thomas Bryant went down with a left knee injury and did not return.
“He’ll have an MRI tomorrow,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said postgame. “We hope for the best. (We) don’t know as of right now…I know one thing about (Bryant), he’s a great kid that works hard, plays with passion and gives you everything he has. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and he can be back soon. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
Despite the absence of their three leading scorers, the Wizards’ offense came out flying in the first quarter. Rui Hachimura, Jerome Robinson and Robin Lopez, who was filling in for Bryant, helped get things rolling for Washington. Lopez finished the first quarter with 10 points 4-4 (1.000) from the field. The Wizards were efficient – 15-26 (.577) from the field – and aggressive – 12-14 (.857) from the line – in the first. For all their successes on the offensive end, the Wizards struggled to get stops on defense and trailed 47-44 after one. Entering Saturday’s game, the Wizards had scored 44 points or more in the first quarter only seven times in franchise history and hadn’t done so since scoring 45 in a first quarter in 2006.
The pace slowed in the second quarter, but the undermanned Wizards kept up their scoring efficiency. As a team, Washington shot 9-17 (.529) from the field and 3-4 (.750) from 3-point range in the second. The Wizards took their first lead of the game on an Ish Smith jumper with 6:11 left in the second, but a late Miami run put the Heat up 75-71 heading into halftime.
The Wizards’ offense went cold in the third quarter, scoring just 15 points on 6-26 (.231) from the field and 2-13 (.154) from 3-point range. The Heat, on the other hand, kept rolling. After a Robinson 3-pointer cut the Heat lead to 79-76, Miami went on a 24-9 run to take a 103-85 lead. After trailing by 24 just over a minute into the fourth, Moe Wagner knocked down a three to spark an 18-2 run that cut the Heat lead to single digits. Herro, who played the entire fourth quarter, scored five points in a two-minute stretch to put an end to the Wizards’ run. Avdija knocked down threes on three consecutive possessions to cut the lead from 14 to five in the final two minutes, but it was too little, too late – and the Heat held on to win.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Avidja goes for career-high 20 points
Coming off the first scoreless game of his career Friday in Boston, Avdija answered with a new career high and his first-ever 20-point game. The rookie shot 7-15 (.466) from the field and 5-9 (.555) from 3-point range. Three of those five 3-pointers came in the final two minutes, the last of them pulling the Wizards within five. Even without the late threes, Avidja played perhaps his most complete game of his young career. He registered five rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals in 31:38, his second game topping the 30-minute threshold.
Mathews makes the most of big minutes
After seeing his first notable action of the season Friday night in Boston, Mathews was called upon for the second night in a row – this time in an even larger role. With the Wizards down their top two guards, the entire backcourt rotation had to step up. Mathews finished with 22 points, the most he’s scored since pouring in 28 last season against the Heat, and was plus-11 in 23 minutes. He shot 6-12 (.500) overall, 4-7 (.571) from three and 6-7 (857) from the free throw line.
“Garrison plays with a tenacity and an effort and a joy of competition that I love – and he can make shots,” Brooks said.”
Butler, Herro shine with Adebayo in foul trouble
Heat star Bam Adebayo spent nearly the entire game battling foul trouble. He picked up two in the first quarter and another one quickly after re-taking the court in the second quarter. In his absence, Herro carried most of the offensive weight, scoring 31 points on 12-20 (.600) shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Jimmy Butler finished one assist short of a triple-double, totaling 26 points, nine assists and 10 rebounds. Despite playing just 21:26, Adebayo still finished with nine points, 16 rebounds and four assists.
NEXT UP: Suns at Wizards / Monday, January 11 / 7:00 P.M. / Capital One Arena
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT