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Recap: Nene and Wizards stifle “coasting” LeBron & Co.; blow out the champs

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Wizards 114 — Heat 97

January 16, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
NBA.com highlights

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The reigning World Champion Miami Heat traveled to “American Airlines Arena North” last night in what was one of the best outings the Wizards have had all season.

The game generated a lot of hype due to Lebron’s comments about how he was going to come out in response to questions about him “coasting” through the season, but the Wizards came out prepared and showed the NBA world that they are not a team to take lightly in the Eastern Conference.

Outscoring the Heat 43-18 in the 1st quarter and shooting 77% from the field, the Wizards were poised to have a big game from the start. The buckets were falling, the defense was solid as a rock and they were getting under Miami’s skin. The onslaught continued during the 2nd quarter and saw the biggest lead of the night at 34 points. The number of Heat fans in attendance was not unusual, but for once, the Verizon Center was sounding like the Wizards’ home while Lebron was on the court.

All good things must come to an end, though, as the run everyone was expecting came in the 3rd quarter after the Heat outscored the Wizards 29-17 and then cut the lead to single digits at one point in the 4th. The Wizards managed to rally together and get back in the game they had been playing in the 1st quarter and managed to pull the game out with a 17 point victory, sending the opposing fans home unhappy and heckled.

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MVP: John Wall – 25 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 50% FG in 37 minutes

It’s tough to pick an MVP for this game because it was truly a team effort. Seven players ended the game in double-figure points and everyone contributed to the defense that managed to frustrate the Miami Heat into enduring long possessions and taking terrible shots. However, John Wall receives the MVP status due to his style of play which I believe led to the win last night.

The Wizards were best when moving the ball and getting points off turnovers. Wall is obviously the key to this with his lightning-fast speed up and down the court. It felt like the lead grew exponentially in a matter of seconds because of Wall’s ability to find a man on the break or take the ball to the hoop himself and get points quickly. Without that 1st quarter and Wall’s production, it’s tough to say if the Wizards win this one.

LVP – Randy Wittman

I feel like this section shouldn’t even be included, but if I have to find something wrong, then I’ll go with Wittman for one reason – albeit entirely insignificant. Randy: why didn’t you throw Jan Vesely in during garbage time? The only thing that could’ve made this win more fun would have been a Honza slam opportunity over a Heat defender.

Key stat of the game:

From the game’s transcript:

lebroni blasc

From the game’s video lens:

It’s more of a play rather than a stat, but Nene’s block on Lebron in the first minute of the game was quite possibly the biggest play and maybe the reason for the Wizards’ confidence. During post-game interviews, everyone mentioned how big it was for Nene to come in and absolutely embarrass Lebron with a block that sent him to the floor, especially given the amount of talking Lebron had done before this game. It energized the bench, but most importantly, it energized the home crowd.

What’s next

The Wizards look to keep the hot offense going in four more games of the five-game homestand. They face Chicago for the second time in four days tomorrow night at the Verizon Center and look to take advantage of a Chicago team that tends to struggle offensively at times without Rose and Deng.

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