Tonight, the Wizards have a shot at redemption against the same team that embarrassed them down in Miami on Friday. The 'Zards opened the game against the Heat with noticeably less energy than displayed at home against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
But energy can easily be sparked, even on the road, with some hustle and toughness. The Wiz looked to be doing just that as the third quarter starters (with Darius Songaila inserted for Etan Thomas) were able to cut the Miami lead down from 13 at halftime to six points, with not one, but two chances to cut it to four.
What would happen in the next six minutes would allow Dwyane Wade to rest for the entire fourth quarter and would seal a 1-6 fate for the Washington Wizards.
What did happen? Miami went on a 20-3 run to end the third. The Wizards offense sputtered and the two all-stars went MIA. However, the main culprit was lack of intuitive defensive positioning and a team void of the hustle swag needed to keep the Heat from getting second chance points.
Keep reading for a detailed account of the Miami Heat run.
With 6:30 left in the 3rd quarter, the Wizards, with Nick Young just checking in for Juan Dixon, had the ball with a chance to cut the Miami Heat lead to four points, having gone on a 14-7 run to start the period (11-3 in the 3:30 leading up to this point of the game). Young took a tough shot with a defender on his back and missed. The game would go in the crapper from there. Here's how it went down:
Dwyane Wade drives baseline off a pseudo screen and hits an amazing twisting reverse layup coming from behind the back board. Whose fault was it? Everyone. Nick Young allowed Wade too much of the baseline. Darius Songaila didn't show on the screen. And no other Wizard was close enough to help on time. 2-0 run.
Songaila doubles Wade with Stevenson off a high ball screen, like the Wizards have done all year. Wade gets out of the double and blows by DeShawn Stevenson who was not in a balanced defensive stance. AJ filled the lane to stop Wade and the ball, but he can't guard three people. Haslem sinks behind AJ and it's an easy pass for Wade. 4-0 run.
Eddie Jordan Timeout (60-50 Miami) 5:00 left in the 3rd.
Beasley misses, but Jamison does not put his butt into Haslem on the block-out. Udonis is able to tap the ball back out to Wade who assesses the situation with Caron Butler on him. Butler dares Wade to shoot the trey ball and he does. 7-0 run.
Wade misses an open three created by an off-ball screen (Stevenson can't get caught behind the screener like that). Heat get the long rebound (hey, those happen).Miami gets the ball moving around the horn and Beasley misses an open jumper past the elbow, created by a Marion drive. Wade sneaks in the paint, no one even considers picking him up, and he gets a put-back dunk/lay-in. 9-0 run.
Wade receives a pass from Quinn on the wing. Quinn immediately cuts towards (and above) D-Wade. Right after Wade receives the pass, Haslem sets a ball screen for him. This is where Nick Young is clueless....instead of staying next to Quinn, he tries to go under Wade with the ball and ends up setting what is essentially a double screen on Stevenson consisting of him and Haslem. McGee, shows on the screen, but way too much (and there was more room than usual since Young ran into DeShawn). Wade easily crosses JaVale, and heads to the hoop. Wade misses a runner, but Andray Blatche is neither strong enough, nor long enough, to keep Shawn Marion from getting yet another offensive rebound and put back. 11-1 run.
Wade brings the ball down and gets a double ball screen by the players Blatche and McGee are supposed to be covering. Blatche is somewhat in the area (his man was the inside screener), but McGee ran straight to the paint in transition and wasn't even aware that his man was setting a screen. Well, once Wade sees an opening in the lane, it doesn't matter if Bill Russell is waiting, much less JaVale McGee. Wade changes gears, twists in the lane....Blatche tries to grab his arms and the ball, but he is no where near strong enough to keep Wade from getting the shot off. Basket, And 1. FT made. 14-1 run.
70-51 Miami - 2:10 left in the 3rd.
Wizards get a steal on Miami in transition. Jamison takes it down the court from the left side with only Quinn between him and the basket. Unfortunately, instead of going left to finish strong (with two hands perhaps), he switches back to the right hand to throw up a floater (what...does he think Quinn will block his shot). Nope, but Haslem will (and did) since Jamison moved the ball back to the right where another defender could be.....REJECTED. (To AJ's credit, he was trying to avoid a charge....but still).
Marion and Wade didn't even make it past the half court line on the block of AJ. McGee and Young are back with them. Marion schools McGee. How do you negate a shot blocker? Take it right into him.....and Marion does just that, putting his shoulder in between the ball and McGee, and pulls up for a floating layup before JaVale can even react. 16-1 run.
Heat run a 3-1 break, only Blatche is back....the worst part is that as Stevenson going out of the camera shot, he is just kinda standing up, clearly not hustling back. Haslem misses a tough oop from Quinn. Marion is able to jump over Blatche to tip the ball to Quinn who hits a layup. Jamison and Stevenson come jogging on screen. 18-1 run.
McGee gets caught on Quinn in the corner, but actually does a decent job to contain. Marion sets a ball screen for Quinn, Songaila switches to cover the ball. However, Marion rolls and McGee gets caught completely behind him. Andray Blatche is no help at all. Marion receives a great pass from Quinn....layup drill. 20-1 run.
The Heat miss an open three at the period buzzer. And that's it....the Wizards don't hit a FG in the last 7 minutes and 41 seconds. In total, a 20-3 run to end the third quarter by the Miami Heat....and that was the game.