Despite a sore knee after being carried off the floor in Sunday night’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks, John Wall didn’t let that affect him as he scored 26 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 114-103 victory over the Miami Heat.
Don’t let the double-digit margin of victory fool you, as the Heat were very much in this game as it came down to the wire. With 1:31 left in regulation, the Wizards were up 105-103 with the ball after a Miami turnover. Bradley Beal would drive the ball and appeared to travel when he lost control of the ball, but the officials didn’t make the call and Beal would kick it out to Gary Neal who buried the corner three to give the Wizards a five point lead.
Chris Bosh would be ejected for only the second time in his career later in the quarter as he was still arguing over the non-traveling call.
“It was a travel,” Bosh said after the game. “No, I didn’t watch. There’s no need to watch it. I know what happened. … You can’t travel. It’s a travel. You can’t go to the rim and catch your own ball when you come down.”
Coming into tonight’s game, John Wall led the NBA for the month of December in points (114), field goals made (42), steals (14) and assists (40). Well, the All-Star point guard improved those numbers as he finished the game with 26 points and seven assists. This was less than 24 hours after he injured his knee in the final minutes against the Mavericks.
It was a total team effort as Washington is still playing without several frontcourt players, including Marcin Gortat and Nene. Six players scored in double figures for the Wizards, including 21 points by both Bradley Beal and Gary Neal off the bench. Otto Porter recorded his second-straight double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds (a career-high). Jared Dudley and Ramon Sessions were the other two in double figures, both scoring 12 points.
It was vintage Dwyane Wade tonight, as he finished with 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting, nine assists and seven rebounds. Goran Dragic added 20 points and nine assists, while Chris Bosh recorded 18 points and nine rebounds. Hassan Whiteside only played 23 minutes but he totaled 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting and three blocks. Whiteside didn’t play a single minute in the fourth quarter, as Washington went very small and forced the hand of Miami to go small as well.
“This is the NBA right now,” Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra said. “Welcome to this league. Everybody has a speed-space lineup. You have to be able to adapt, you have to be able to contain the basketball and keep the ball out of the paint with different lineups.”
Miami was on the wrong side of history tonight as they lost a game for the first time in their franchise’s history where they shot 59 percent from the field. Despite shooting very well from the floor, they allowed the Wizards to shoot 50 percent from the field. The Heat also lost the rebounding battle 37-to-34 to an undersized team, and they turned the ball over 17 times that led to 24 Washington points.
Washington came out of the gates very well as they led by 10 after the first quarter. They would extend their lead to 14 early in the second quarter. But after a Miami timeout, the Heat would go on a 13-5 run to make it a 43-37 ballgame. The Wizards would lead 60-55 going into the intermission.
Miami would come out in the third quarter and go on a 10-4 run to take a 65-64 lead. Wade would account for six of those points 10 points. The Heat would further their lead as they led 78-71 with 4:28 left in the quarter. However, Washington would end the quarter on a 16-6 run, including a tough layup by John Wall as time was winding down.
The Wizards would hold their lead throughout the entirety of the fourth quarter, until Wade tied the game at 101 with 2:54 remaining in regulation. Bradley Beal’s steal and transition dunk would give Washington the lead for good, and Neal’s corner three that shouldn’t have counted seemed to be the dagger.
Washington will go home and play the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, while Miami will head on the road to face the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.