March 10, 2018 | AmericanAirlines Arena | Miami, FL
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Washington Wizards as the Miami Heat blasted them, 129-102. Washington never led in this game and the Wizards left their defense behind in New Orleans. Perhaps, this was expected as Washington continues to struggle with consistency issues and was playing on the second night of a road back-to-back.
(Photo: Oscar Baldizon via Getty Images)
Wizards’ Non-Existent Defense
If playing with any effort was a part of the game plan tonight, the Wizards disregarded that completely. Washington allowed the Heat to outscore them 43-28 in the third quarter alone. Additionally, Miami shot 59.1 percent from the field and shot 10-for-28 from three-point territory. It seemed like the home team simply could not miss. Eight of their players were in double-figures, led by James Johnson who had 20 points and shot 8-for-9 from the field. Miami exploited Washington by scoring a season-high 76 points, a season-worst for the Wizards who had no answers.
Starters Surprisingly Non-Factors
Washington’s first unit had a combined 40 points on 15-for-38 (39.5 percent) shooting. Bradley Beal finished the night with 14 points on an atrocious 5-for-12 from the field. Marcin Gortat could not buy a shot despite Hassan Whiteside sitting out. The Polish Machine had just three points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field and played a total of 17 minutes. Markieff Morris and Tomas Satoransky collectively chimed in 13 points, while Otto Porter Jr. had 10 points and was the only starter to shoot better than 50 percent from the field (5-for-9). The first unit was outscored 62-40 by Miami’s starters. Even the Heat’s second-unit, 67, scored more points than Washington’s starters, but much of that was due to extended garbage time.
Lone Highlight Comes From Jodie Meeks
In the 129-102 beat down, it is hard to find any positives from this game. Yet, Meeks contributed a season-high 23 points. He shot 7-for-15 from the field and was 3-for-6 from behind the arc. Additionally, Meeks did not miss any free throws as he went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. If the second-unit can produce more consistently for the remainder 15 games of the season, perhaps Washington will improve their chances of going far in the postseason. Nevertheless, the effort of this team as a whole tonight says otherwise. Meeks’ play is extremely important because every second that he can buy Beal on the bench without being a total liability is essential.
Kelly Oubre and Dwayne Wade: New School vs. Old School
Wade continues to aggravate Oubre with his antics. Tonight, Wade gave Oubre a flick in the back of his head and that caused the future Hall of Famer to be hit with a technical foul. The two occasionally jawed at each other, but nothing came of it. If these two teams somehow faceoff in the postseason, it will be interesting to see Wave Papi and Superman in a seven-game series.
What Is Wrong With The Wizards?
In short, everything. Their mindset has always been that they can turn the switch on when needed. Granted, Washington won against good teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers. This team is still missing five-time All-Star John Wall and his return seems to be nearing as he will be six weeks post-surgery on Wednesday. Yet, losing to Miami allowed the Heat to be only two games behind them in the standings. Almost every game has playoffs implications and the Wizards did not play as if they realized that tonight as the season-series is now tied at two apiece. Head coach Scott Brooks called out his team tonight saying the efforts was “unacceptable” and “embarrassing.” It is up to Washington as to how far they will go and the playoffs are still not a guarantee.
Next Game: The Wizards will travel back home to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday. Minnesota is another team that is jockeying for playoff seeding and have their own adversities without two-way wing Jimmy Butler. Washington’s schedule will consist of playoff caliber teams for the remainder of the coming week with Boston and Indiana.