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Wizards lose 100-89 on late run by Heat
The Wizards (23-40) were defeated by the Heat (41-23) 100-89 on Sunday night at Capital One Arena. Washington trailed by double-digits in the second quarter, came back to take the lead in the third, but fell short down the stretch when their shooting went cold. Shabazz Napier (27 points), Davis Bertans (25 points) and Bradley Beal (23 points) combined to scored 75 of the Wizards’ 89 points.
“They stepped up the physicality,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “We were up [83-75] and all of a sudden we just couldn't make shots. A lot. They do a great job putting their hands on you throughout the game and they make you work. You have to exert a lot of energy to get open and good looks. They're athletic, they're long, they can switch and they got aggressive athletes on the perimeter. When we were switching, we couldn't stay in front of them. They were straight line drives and their bigs...Bam [Adebayo] is a problem. He had a couple possessions in a row that kind of changed the ending of this game.”
Napier served as Washington’s only true point guard as Ish Smith (left hamstring soreness) missed his second consecutive game and proved to be up to the task. He played a season-high 40 minutes and, in addition to his season-high 27 points, totaled seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.
After the Wizards fell behind by 10 points and scored just 12 in the game’s first 8:19, Bertans checked in and woke the offense up. Bertans hit three 3-pointers in a 1:57 span to help bring Washington within three points. As a team, the Wizards shot just 7-16 (.438) from the field in the first quarter, but were 5-9 (.556) from beyond the arc. The second quarter featured much of the same: a heavy reliance on 3-point shooting to make up for struggles within the arc. Despite being outscored 22-10 in the paint by Miami, Washington trailed by just three points at halftime. Beal scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half, shooting 7-10 (.700) from the field and 4-5 (.800) from 3-point range.
Bertans scored 24 of his 25 points from beyond the arc, shooting 8-15 (.533) from deep. He now has three games since December 10 with at least eight 3-pointers made. No player in franchise history has done that over the course of their entire career.
The Wizards took their first lead of the night with 9:33 left in the third quarter when Thomas Bryant converted on a tricky post move to create an open layup. After Napier drew a foul on a 3-pointer and converted on all three free throws, Duncan Robinson hit his fourth three of the night to tie the game at 72 heading into the fourth.
Bertans and Napier combined for three 3-pointers of the first 2:36 of the fourth quarter to put Washington up 83-75, their largest lead of the night. From that point forward, however, the Wizards struggled to generate offense. The Heat then ripped off a 25-3 run, taking a 14-point lead with 30 seconds to go. Robinson did most of the damage for the Heat offense, hitting all three of his attempts from deep to spark the Miami run.
The Wizards close their three-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting the Knicks (20-44) at 7:00 P.M. Washington is 2-1 against New York in the teams’ three prior matchups this season.