Washington Wizards v Miami Heat
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 6: Rui Hachimura #8 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball during the game against the Miami Heat on December 6, 2019 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards lose late to Heat, 112-103

In the second game of a back-to-back, Wizards (7-14) were defeated 112-103 by the Miami Heat (16-6) Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Bradley Beal scored 23 points to lead five Wizards scoring in double figures. Jimmy Butler led the way for Miami, scoring 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his second triple-double of the season.

“I loved the way we played tonight,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “It’s one of the toughest back-to-backs in the East. Playing Philadelphia, then the long flight down to Miami to play a good, physical, talented, aggressive and tough basketball team. We competed, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We ran out of gas a little bit. I thought we had some good looks in the second half but we competed and gave great effort.”

In addition to carrying the scoring load for the Wizards, Beal dished out eight assists, recording his ninth game this season with 20-plus points and eight-plus assists. Only LeBron James, Luka Doncic and Trae Young have recorded more such games this season.

“We understand back-to-backs are tough, especially playing two of the top teams in the East right now,” Beal said. “It’s disappointing when you come out this way. There’s a lot of positives we can still take out of it.”

Coming off a game last night in D.C. and limited on the bench due to injuries, the Wizards showed little evidence of fatigue early on. Washington held a 28-27 lead after one quarter and let Davis Bertans do his thing early in the second. With the Wizards trailing 29-28 with 11:25 left in the half, Bertans hit his first three of the night, jump-starting a 12-0 Washington run. For the second night in a row, Bertans owned the second quarter – this time scoring 12 points in eight minutes on 4-5 (.800) from 3-point range.

Bertans finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. He shot 5-13 (.384) from deep and now leads the NBA with seven games with five or more 3-pointers off the bench this season. No other player has more than three such performances off the bench.

Both teams went cold in an evenly fought third quarter that featured five lead changes and five ties. Washington shot 7-22 (.318) from the field while both teams combined to shoot 2-15 (.133) from beyond the arc. Miami had a chance to pull away late in the third as Washington went over three minutes without hitting a field goal, but the Wizards’ defense kept the team within reach.

After trailing by as many as eight points early in the fourth, the Wizards cut the lead to one with just over six minutes left when Ish Smith and Beal scored on consecutive possessions. The Heat answered with threes from Butler and Tyler Herro on back-to-back possessions, taking a 101-94 lead with five minutes remaining. From that point forward, any Washington bucket, including another three from Bertans and more crafty paint work from Smith, was met with a Miami bucket. Butler scored five points in the game’s final 2:12, including a 3-pointer to ice the win with just over a minute left.

Smith, who got the start for the second consecutive game in place of an injured Isaiah Thomas, scored 15 points and recorded eight assists, tying a season high set last night against Philadelphia.

After shooting 9-18 (.500) from 3-point range in the first half, Washington struggled to connect from deep in the second, hitting just 3-21 (.143).

The Wizards are back home Sunday night, hosting the Clippers (16-7) at 6:00 P.M. Los Angeles won the teams’ first meeting of the season last weekend at STAPLES Center.

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