January 20, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
The following is a weather map of the DMV last night, between approximately the hours of 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
See that big ball of fire in the middle of the storm? That was the Washington Wizards. Miami was visitng DC, but it was Washington who was packing heat.
In a rare case of complete 48 minute dominance, the Washington Wizards never trailed. And the tone was set even before the opening tip, with the Wizards again starting the big man tandem of Nene and Marcin Gortat. The tandem did not disappoint.
They helped the Wizards shoot a scorching 52% from the field. They were the major forces inside, scoring 31 of the Wizards 46 points in the paint, compared to just 32 for Miami. They grabbed 18 of the teams 34 rebounds, compared to 31 Miami boards. The two teamed up for 31 points, 18 rebounds, 15-27 shooting, and this reminder to Hassan Whiteside that he’s not a big boy just yet.
But on this ice cold night in DC, Nene and March were not the only ones finding warmth on the Verizon Center floor. Six Wizards finished in double figures, led by their #HouseOfGuards, with 18 from Wall and 18 from Beal off the bench.
And as usual, Wall was wielding and throwing fireballs around like he was playing Super Mario 3. He fired this one to Gortat from long range to give the Wizards a 12 point lead late in the second quarter:
And he added this lefty underhand toss, one of his 10 assists, just to remind Gerald Green that he’s effing John Wall:
At around 9:30 ET time, the DC Heatwave finally ended, and the Wizards sent their fans out of the Verizon Center door with a comfortable, warm, and toasty 106-87 win.
From there it was out into an icy, snowy, jammed up city for the journey home.
#WizHeat in a Tweet..
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) January 21, 2016
The Game’s Top Performer
Everyone! Look at this box score!
A forgettable night for..
– Injuries: Surely, the Wizards are the last team that will apologize for their opponents’ injuries. God knows we’ve had our share. Still, injuries were surely a factor in this game for the Miami Heat. Star Dwyane Wade was out with a shoulder injury. Goran Dragic was out with a strained left calf. And Hassan Whiteside left the game with an oblique injury.
Wade’s absence left the Heat without their top scorer and playmaker, and left their offense often looking lost on multiple possessions. Whiteside’s absence left Miami with little paint resistance, and the Wizards took full advantage.
Again, no apologies here. Injuries are part of the game, and taking advantage of those injuries is part of the game. Miami’s depleted roster provided the Wizards an opportunity, and they made the most of it.
– Bradley Beal on the mend: Bradley Beal continues to play well as he returns from injury. Beal again provided efficient production in limited minutes. In just 25 minutes, Beal shot 7-13, scored 18 points, and got to the free throw line 4 times. He also put this unjust move on Justise Winslow:
The next step of Brad’s return to form involves his role as playmaker. Before injury, Beal wasn’t just scoring, he was making plays for everyone and taking control of the offense for large stretches. The scoring and shooting touch is clearly on its way back. The return to full stardom still has a ways to go.
– Ball control. The Wizards committed just 10 turnovers in this win, and forced 20 Miami turnovers. That contributed to a 19-6 DC advantage in fast break points. This is a simple lesson: committing fewer turnovers makes winning less difficult. Getting wins in the NBA is hard enough when you’re just playing your opponent. When you’re fighting off your own mistakes, getting wins gets that much more difficult. Hopefully this victory of the turnover battle will turn into a pleasant new trend, instead of an outlier.