Miami Heat v Washington Wizards
WASHINGTON, DC -  MARCH 23: Thomas Bryant #13 of the Washington Wizards dunks the ball against the Miami Heat on March 23, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards fall short down the stretch in 113-108 loss to Heat

Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are in the midst of a battle for the No. 8 seed as the star’s farewell season draws to a close, and the Wizards didn’t have the answers to stop them Saturday. Wade scored a team-high 20 points (nine rebounds) off the bench to lead six double-figure scorers as Miami got a critical win in D.C. for its postseason aspirations, 113-108.

Saturday’s tilt was the definition of the cliché that basketball is a game of runs, and the two teams were nearly dead even through three quarters despite both having double-digit leads along the way. The Wizards had their way on the boards (particularly on the offensive end with 21 offensive rebounds), but couldn’t quite overcome a sound Heat attack that shot 50% from the field.

“It was a good fight,” said Tomas Satoransky (12 points, eight assists). “This team [Miami Heat] always plays extremely hard. Defensively, offensively, we really played hard. We allowed a lot of rebounds, but at the same time, our offensive rebounds kept us in the game. It was kind of a weird game because there was a lot of zone, so each team tried to find a different way to attack the zone. I thought we passed the ball well, we didn’t shoot particularly well today.”

Thomas Bryant (17 points, 11 rebounds) helped the Wizards get out to a one point lead at the first quarter pole with seven in the first frame. Washington climbed back from a seven-point deficit in the frame, as Dion Waiters (19 points) led the Heat offense early.

The Wizards opened up a 13-point lead in the middle of the second quarter with an 11-2 run thanks in large part to Jeff Green, who scored 13 of his team-leading 25 points in the frame. Bradley Beal (16 points) also helped on the run. Still, Josh Richardson (18 points) and the Heat battled back to trail by just one at the halftime break.

A back-and-forth affair continued in the third, as a 14-6 Miami run put it up seven points with 3:02 remaining. But the Wizards took advantage on the boards in the frame led by seven points from Bobby Portis (14 points, 11 rebounds on the night). They converted on 11 offensive rebounds in the quarter, tallying 11 second-chance points in the third alone to lead by a point heading into the fourth.

Miami saved its best for last, as 11 points from Wade led the Heat to out-score the Wizards by six in the final frame (they led by as many as 10) to claim the victory. A 12-3 run to start the fourth put Washington behind the eight ball from the start, and while the Wizards were able to cut the lead to just three with 1:13 remaining, they were unable to find a bucket in the time left until a Thomas Bryant dunk with just six seconds still on the clock.

“They pretty much beat us," said Bradley Beal. "They beat us in every way possible – off the dribble, three balls, offensive rebounds, everything that we said that they were going to beat us in, they pretty much did. We felt good early on controlling the tempo. I think we kind of got out of that. They went on their run in the half, and they kind of took over from there. They were loading up defensively and making it tough for us on offense.”

Beal, who said earlier this season that Wade was a role model for him as a player growing up, had some final words of admiration as the Miami legend calls it a career.

“It has been great. He has had a great career. He is first ballot. No brainer. It is tough being in an environment like this when you are at home, and you feel like it is a road game, but you have to do nothing but respect his legacy, respect everybody being a fan of him and he had a great game tonight on top of that, but it has been fun for me over the last seven years to be able to play against him. Being in the division, seeing him four times a year. I have enjoyed it and embraced it. It is a lot I can learn from and take from him, but it is definitely sad to see him go.”

Washington embarks on their second tour of the West this week, with the first stop coming on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Tip-off against the Lakers is set for 10:00 P.M. ET.

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