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Recap: South Beach struggles – Wizards gas out late against Heat

Heat 99 — Wizards 90

March 11, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
NBA.com highlights


#OttoCheck on LeBron happened last night.

For two and a half minutes last night, the angels that circumpass the slender shoulders of Otto Porter preserved him from the dismay of guarding LeBron James.
Bless your graceful heart, Otto. Your efforts have bespoken you a blissful haven in basketball Eden.

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[Photo cred: P Carter/AP]


It was the third meeting in what has become a fun series between the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards last night in Miami. With the Heat on a losing skid, the Wizards took their talents to South Beach in hopes of contributing to the slide. Unfortunately for them, the “Big 3” decided to show up with a little passion (and a lot of whining).

After coming out stagnant in the 1st quarter, the Wizards managed to keep the deficit very manageable throughout the game and in the second half even traded leads back and forth with the reigning World Champions. Led by Marcin Gortat, the Wizards found themselves in great position to try and close things out in the fourth quarter, but without any solid production from John Wall or Trevor Ariza, they ultimately failed in the final minutes to stop Lebron, Wade, Bosh and crew.

While this loss is one of the more frustrating of the season due to the lack of calls going the Wizards’ way (including one where Booker nearly had his hand decapitated) and the overall hatred for LeBron in this city, it certainly wasn’t the worst loss by any means.

As cooler heads prevail it’s worth noting that, statistically, this game should have been a blowout. The Wizards were shooting under 30% much of the 1st quarter which could have easily led to a lead that the Heat saw the Wizards take back at the Phone Booth in January. The Wizards hung in there like a true, tried and tested team that can contend in the Eastern Conference. I’m not trying to go the route of “moral victory” here, but if you’re going to pick a loss to be the worst one of the season, this game does not even come close. The hustle these guys showed last night with two of their biggest offensive weapons essentially useless was more than impressive.


Game MVP:
Marcin Gortat – 14 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists

Marcin got off to a slow start missing most of his early shots (some of them coming in very ugly fashion), but ended up getting on a roll late in the first. Thanks to the number of shots the Wizards were missing, Gortat was able to eat up all the rebounds and was already in double digits early in the first half.


Gortat ended up shooting 7-for-15 from the field and was the main reason the Wizards were able to stay in this game. Without Gortat, you’d have to imagine there would not have been half as many second-chance points as they ended up with. These ultimately led to numerous chances for the Wizards to finally get their offense in some kind of rhythm and keep up with the Heat and their numerous runs throughout the game.


A forgettable night for:
Trevor Ariza – 6 points (2-11 FG), 5 TO
John Wall – 7 points(2-8 FG), 7 TO

The LVP’s get split between the Wizards’ two biggest offensive weapons, who helped give away the game late in the 4th quarter. It seems like all of these guys on this roster really step up to the plate when it comes to the marquis matchups, but for some reason, neither Wall or Ariza could find any focus.

Having a combined 12 turnovers between them, Wall and Ariza gave up a ton of chances (especially late in the game) where the Wizards could have put themselves in the position to take over the game. The 3rd quarter was an impressive showing by the bench squad, but just when you thought the Wizards might extend the lead or start to run off with the game, a silly turnover was committed or an ill-advised shot was taken.

I wouldn’t worry about this too much if I were a Wizards fan, however. Every star has his bad game or two, and unfortunately their bad games came against a team that every single Wizards fan would’ve killed to have beat.


Key stat of the game:
Dywane Wade: 22 points, 33 minutes

Drew Gooden almost got the key stat due to his impressive 15 points in 17 minutes, but ultimately, Dwayne Wade’s unexpected appearance in this game and consequential 22 points make this one of the big keys for why the Wizards lost this game.

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[Photo cred: Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports]

Announced shortly before the game that he would be playing in only the third back-to-back game of the season showed that the Heat were ready to snap this losing streak by any means necessary. Dwayne Wade impressed by coming out for 33 minutes and still managing to keep his legs under him and ball out for that large amount of time. He wasn’t flashy whatsoever; he managed to get his points very quietly. I couldn’t believe at one point in the fourth quarter the amount of points he had already.

Wade is the key to this game because if you throw Allen in to give Wade his rest, you have to think this becomes a much different game that ends with a Wizards victory.


What’s next? The Wizards take their 33-30 record back to the Phone Booth to take on the Charlotte Bobcats. If anything’s been proven this season, it’s that the usual underdogs are no more. At 30-34 and practically guaranteed for a playoff spot, Charlotte is not a team to take lightly. Watch for Al Jefferson to make noise on the stat sheet as he’s been doing recently since Charlotte acquired him.


Closing Vinelights

we are Hoop District

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