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Wizards win fourth straight, beat Heat 102-93
John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 53 points in Miami
John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to score 53 points in Miami as the Wizards defeated the Heat 102-93. Washington started out hot in the first half, but gave up the lead in the fourth quarter. However, Washington would rally with stout defense in the fourth to beat the Heat in a crucial road game. The Wizards have now held their last four opponents to under 100 points for the first time since March of 2016.Photos | Box Score
The Wizards came out clicking on both ends of the court, winning the first quarter 30-10. Washington held Miami to 7-of-20 (35%) from the floor and scored seven points on the Heat's four turnovers in the opening period. Markieff Morris took advantage of his matchup with the smaller Heat starting lineup, which starts only one big, scoring 10 of his 15 points. The Wizards shot 52.4% and hit 4-of-6 triples to take the early lead.
The pace picked up in the second quarter wit both teams shooting well over 50.0% from the floor. Miami's turnovers continued and plagued them the entire first half, especially considering they only missed seven shots in the second quarter. The Wizards stayed hot offensively with Otto Porter Jr. scoring eight of his 12 points in the quarter. Porter would run with the Wizards' second unit of Tim Frazier, Jodie Meeks, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Ian Mahinmi. Of note, Mike Scott, who has been exceptional so far this season, did not play. Wall had a 6-0 run of his own late in the quarter to give the Wizards a huge boost late in the half, especially with Beal struggling from the field (1-of-7 in the quarter).
Unfortunately for the Wizards, things started to fall apart in the third quarter, arguably the team's worst quarter of the season. Miami outscored Washington 25-10 in the quarter and held the Wizards to 21.1% shooting and forced five key turnovers. The Heat had nine second chance points in the quarter, even though they only made 8-of-22 shots in the quarter. After it took the Wizards five and a half minutes to score their first field goal in the quarter, Beal gave the Wizards important offense late with eight of his 26 points. Miami would take a three-point lead into the fourth quarter as the Wizards searched for answers after their third quarter debacle.
The Heat built their lead in the fourth quarter, going up seven points with 9:47 to go in the game on a Goran Dragic turnaround bank shot. Scott Brooks called timeout and brought back in Morris and Wall, putting Morris in the Wizards' five position and running with Wall, Meeks, Oubre, and Porter. Beal entered a little over a minute later for Porter as well. The Wizards' defense finally started to click again with Morris at the five, and the team did not give up a field goal again until Dion Waiters made a layup with 4:51 left in the game. Washington was able to switch with all five of its players against a smaller Heat lineup, and it made a huge difference.
Morris picked up his sixth personal foul and his second technical foul and was ejected with 5:04 left in the game. Marcin Gortat entered for him and the Wizards continued to dominate, forcing turnovers, tough shots and really getting to the free throw line. Oubre had some key hustle plays and a monstrous 3-pointer with 3:04 left in the game. The Wizards would close the game on a 29-13 run, as Wall and Beal combined for 19 points. Wall had one of his patented chase down blocks on a Tyler Johnson fast break dunk with 2:04 to go. That play essentially won the game for the Wizards with the team up seven points, especially considering the team only missed two of their 31 free throw attempts on the night.
"We came out, and played great defense, shared the basketball and set great screens," Scott Brooks said after the game. "When we do that, we give ourselves a great chance to win. It was a great start, but a bad third quarter. We came out a little slow after halftime. We have to get rid of that. Give them credit, they came out and played well in the third quarter.”
Outside of big scoring nights from Wall and Beal, it was the little things that won the Wizards the game. Morris took advantage of the smaller men guarding him in the first quarter. Beal made 13-of-14 free throws even though he went 6-of-19 from the field. Wall had that massive block and a few signature Wall plays, going through Hassan Whiteside's legs on a fast break dribble and behind-the-back on a layup in the first half. Porter grabbed 13 rebounds, a team-high for the Wizards, even though he struggled offensively in the second half. Finally, Meeks and Oubre gave the Wizards energy off the bench when they really needed it.
The Wizards held the Heat to 26 points in the paint, the season-low for an opponent so far this season. Wizards' opponents have struggled in the paint during the team's four-game winning streak, shooting 67-147 (45.6%) in the paint and only scoring 33.5 points per game in the paint. Both of those are way below the league average. Washington's interior defense has been exceptional and been forcing tough shots, and it was very impressive against a team with a guy like Whiteside in the middle.
“They came out a little sluggish in the first half," Beal said postgame. "They came out in the third quarter and hit us and went on a nice run. We didn’t get too rattled. We stayed poised and stayed together as a team. We were together on defense and moved the ball on offense. We came up with a great win.”
After Wednesday's big road win, the Wizards (9-5) will host the Heat in the second part of the home-and-home series on Friday at 7:00pm at Capital One Arena.