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Defenseless in DC: Wizards On The Wrong Side Of A Shootout; Lose To Heat 114-111

Heat 114
Wizards 111

November 19, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC

NBA Stats Box Score

In a matchup between two 3-8 Southeast division teams, it was a no-defense 1st quarter that featured 14 lead changes. The Wizards managed to build up a 7 point advantage with their bench (surprising, I know) but were miserably outplayed in the second half.

With the loss of Markieff Morris late in the 2nd quarter to a right ankle injury, Washington lost a physical presence on defense and on the boards. Then, Hassan Whiteside dominated as Marcin Gortat could not hold him off on his own; Gortat’s 16 rebounds are a bit deceiving. When the Wizards tried to help down low, Miami would beat them with 3-pointers, which occurred on 13 instances. Washington is by itself in the basement of the division with a 3-9 record following a 114-111 loss.

#WizHeat in a Tweet

The Game’s Top Performer

John Wall

DC’s point guard was superb tonight despite the high-volume shooting. Wall left the 1st quarter with 7 points and 6 assists in a Washington 35-point effort and it looked like the Wizards would be able to simply outscore Miami. But as Bradley Beal, another candidate for this award, shrewdly pointed out post-game, Washington will never be able to win a game if they do not play sound defense.

Nonetheless, Wall finished with 34 points on 23 shot attempts and picked up 8 assists for the game. Most impressively, Wall was 5-of-6 (!!) from beyond the arc. This is only the third regular season game that Wall has knocked down five 3-pointers in his career.

A forgettable night for..

Marcus Thornton

It is getting rather easy to make Thornton a selection for this non-honor and the unfortunate thing is that it will probably continue. Scott Brooks said before the game that rookie guard Sheldon McClellan is out of the rotation with Beal’s return, meaning Marcus Thornton will continue to be the Wizards’ primary backup shooting guard. How long that remains the case is up in the air.

Tonight, Thornton scored 3 points on the same number of field goal attempts and grabbed one rebound as well as one assist. The veteran guard committed two turnovers and was part of multiple defensive miscues that led to Heat 3’s. Thornton is in the game to provide a scoring boost off the bench but with all of the discussion about defense, it is confusing why he continues to see meaningful playing time when he is a liability.

Key Stat of the Night

Miami’s 114 points is a season-high and abnormal for a team that has only scored over the century mark two times before tonight’s debacle. For a team without a true offensive playmaker, that is simply unacceptable for Washington who continues to preach they are not locked in for an entire 48 minutes.

Quick Hits

Markieff Morris left the game in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain and would not return, which hurt Washington’s defensive game. Morris’ X-Ray results were negative and he said that he could have returned to the game if needed. Brooks said he wanted to be precautionary, which is a valid point considering how subtly important Morris is to the team. Morris is expected to practice tomorrow and be available on Monday against his former team, the Phoenix Suns.

Ian Mahinmi went through his first practice since having surgery on his meniscus five weeks ago. The defensive-oriented center also partook in basketball activities before the game where he sported a sleeve over his knee. His goal is to return to playing action before the end of the month. The alarms are already going off, which is understandable, but hopefully once Mahinmi enters the fold, the team will look better.

Tomas Satoransky continues to be the lone bright spot on the Washington bench. The NBA rookie understands he does not need to force things and contributes in all facets of the game. With eight points on five shot attempts along with four assists, Sato did a nice job orchestrating the second unit. Additionally, he has the flexibility to play small forward which he did much of the second half when Washington opted to go small due to Morris’ injury. His defense his unquantifiable, but I would bet it is currently the best on the team.

Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for Hoop District covering the Wizards. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland, College Park. Neil also covers the Washington Redskins for Breaking Burgundy and Maryland Terrapins for Testudo Times. Neil previously covered the Wizards for District Sports Page and is looking forward to bring his in-person coverage to each of the loyal Hoop District followers.

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