Recap: Wizards fall 112-97 to Heat Thursday in Miami
FINAL: WIZARDS 97 | HEAT: 112
WIZARDS: Bradley Beal (30), Kyle Kuzma (19), Corey Kispert (13)
HEAT: Jimmy Butler (32), Bam Adebayo (20), Gabe Vincent (18)
The Wizards were defeated by the Heat 112-97 on Thursday night at FTX Arena, just the second time this season the team has lost consecutive games. Bradley Beal and Jimmy Butler each scored 30-plus points to lead the way for Washington and Miami, respectively. The Wizards and Heat will face off once again Saturday night in D.C.
The Wizards jumped out to an early 13-6 lead behind 11 points in the first six minutes from Beal and Harrell, prompting a Heat timeout. On Washington’s first possession out of the timeout, the duo stayed in rhythm as Beal found Harrell for an alley-oop layup. The Wizards led 19-12 before a 9-0 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and into the second gave the Heat a 21-19 lead. Washington didn’t stay down for long, taking a lead just minutes later as Corey Kispert knocked down threes on consecutive possessions, his second and third of the night. It marked the first time in the rookie’s career that he knocked down multiple threes in a game. Kispert finished the night with a career-high 13 points on 5-10 (.500) from the field and 3-7 (.420) from three. After falling behind by 41-34, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma hit threes on back-to-back possessions to pull Washington back within two points in the final two minutes of the first half.
The game got away from the Wizards in the third quarter. Up by five heading into the third quarter, the Heat opened on a 16-6 run to take a 63-48 lead and held their double-digit advantage through the end of the frame. Deni Avdija knocked down his second 3-pointer of the night with just over eight minutes left in the game to cut the lead to 10 points, but Washington was unable to gather any serious momentum. Miami closed the game strong, maintaining a double-digit lead throughout the entire fourth quarter .
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Beal leads the way with Dinwiddie out
The Wizards were playing without starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who sat out the second game of the Wizards’ back-to-back as part of his pre-planned injury recovery program. Dinwiddie missed most of the 2020-21 season with a right knee injury. In his place, Beal led the way with 30 points on an efficient 11-18 (.611) from the field and six rebounds. Beal did most of his damage coming right out of halftime, playing the entire third quarter and scoring 15 points on 5-5 (1.000) from the field and 4-4 (1.000) from the free throw line. Beal finished the night with five assists, the first of which marked the 2,500th of his career, but saw his five-game streak of games with seven-plus assists come to an end.
Harrell, Kuzma fill in for Gafford
Dinwiddie wasn’t the only key contributor out of the lineup. The team announced pregame that Daniel Gafford (right thumb sprain) would not play, sliding Harrell into the starting lineup for the third time this season. Harrell, who entered the game having scored 15-plus points in seven-consecutive games, saw the streak come to an end, but finished with 12 points on 6-9 (.667) shooting and nine rebounds. Harrell’s frontcourt running mate, Kyle Kuzma, totaled 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in 40 minutes of action – his sixth double-double of the season and second game with at least a 15-10-5 line.
Wizards bounce back from cold shooting night
A silver lining amidst the Wizards’ loss was the team breaking out of its 3-point shooting rut. After an 8-42 (.190) night against the Hornets on Wednesday, Washington shot 15-36 (.417) from deep. It marked the second time this season the Wizards made at least 15 3-pointers in a game and the eighth time this season the Wizards shot above 35.0% from deep. Beal, Kispert and Kuzma did most of the long-range work for Washington, combining to knock down 10 of the team’s 15 threes.