In their first game to begin the second half of the season, the Wizards (14-28) were doomed from the start, falling behind by 17 points at the end of the first quarter. It was Washington's largest deficit this season after the opening 12 minutes, and although the Wizards tried to make a game of it in the second half, their early troubles were too much to overcome. "It's what I expected. I don't know if our players expected it," Saunders said of the Heat's first-quarter intensity. "We tried to relay that to them. [The Heat] came out with great energy. We had no juice. . . . They were aggressive from the beginning, and they pretty much mauled us."
By the fourth, in which Miami led by as many as 27 thanks to 57 percent shooting from the field (59 from 3-point range), Rafer Alston was launching halfcourt-length passes behind his back to Wade, who added to his half-dozen slam dunks after Michael Beasley (15 points) failed to connect cleanly for an alley oop. "It hurt my ego," said Andray Blatche, who came off the bench to lead the Wizards with 19 points and 11 points. "They came into our home laughing, dunking, just making it seem like we shouldn’t be on the same court. That should touch some people. It touched me, and that just made me want to play much harder than any player on the court because once a team comes on your court and wants to laugh and throw lobs and high-fiving, that’s like a smack in the face. That’s how I took it."
"It definitely stings because of the way we have been playing over the last ten games", noted Wizards guard Randy Foye. "The way we have been moving the ball and even in some of the losses we were right there." On this night the Wizards were not there. The team just could not come up with an answer on defense. The Heat finished with 42 points-in-the paint and made a season high 13-three point shots which often zapped energy from any potential Wizards comeback.
For a team that had been blown out in their last outing the Miami Heat looked awfully sharp. On offense they played patient and executed their offensive sets with great rhythm. On defense they attacked the Wizards and eliminated their comfort zones. Perhaps the most telling statistic of this lopsided game is the contrast in the assist column. Led by Wade and Rafer Alston the Heat kept the ball in constant motion. Wade had ten assists and Alston dished nine. The Wizards looked lost running their offense and the result was a 29 to 14 beat-down in the team assist column.
What is up with Antawn Jamison? "I think the last game I just couldn’t get into a rhythm, missed some easy shots, the ball just didn’t go down, forced some things late, started thinking," said Jamison. "Tonight, it was just more of what they did. The comfort zone I like to get into. They did a lot of bodying me up and things of that nature. Tonight was just a tough game."
Once again they couldn't defend on the perimeter, allowing the Heat to make 59.1 percent from the arc. They again struggled to move the ball, and as a result had only 14 assists. Meanwhile, the Heat had 29 assists (10 of them coming from Dwyane Wade). The Wizards got outrebounded (46-35). And only two starters managed to score in double digits (Caron Butler and Randy Foye had 14 apiece). The main bright spot of the game for the Wizards was Andray Blatche with 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench (Is it a resurrection of 7-Day-Dray?). JaVale McGee also added another bright spot in limited action, racking up four blocks in only eight minutes of play (why is this kid not playing more?).
With reserves in place, Miami scored the first 4 points of the 2nd quarter before the Wizards finally got back on the board. It was just 7:41 of game time between Wizards field goals, which consisted of a lot of missed jumpers and bad layups. The Heat lead peaked at 22 when the Wiz finally made a run, a 13-2 stretch. Miami answered back and would've led at halftime by 18 if not for a fluke trey by Andray Blatche at the buzzer.
[I]t was just another typical performance in a season of peaks and valleys for the Heat, which continued a disturbing trend of following lopsided victories with lethargic play in blowout losses. Or, perhaps, it's the other way around. ``That's what scares people,'' Wizards guard Randy Foye said about the helter-skelter Heat. ``When a team loses like that [Wednesday], usually, the next game, they come out and play hard. Their coach was probably pretty hard on them.''
Best of Twitterville
Twitter / Kelby Brick
@BulletsForever Craig James should call Flip and complain about Mike's treatment!
Twitter / tPFmariah9999
Someone pls rescue me!!! I'm stranded @ Verizon Center in DC watching a basketball game from hell. The Wizards have been awful from the 1st.
Twitter / Jarrett Carter
Wiz might be the worst NBA team I've ever seen. They love jumpers, can't make them, and are addicted to bad choices on offense and defense.
Twitter / Mike Prada
Caron just went to the catch-pause-shoot, rather than da catch-pump-pump-shoot or the catch-dribble-dribble-dribble-dribble-pump-pump-shoot.
Twitter / Wizards Extreme
Not a good sign when the most excited the crowd gets is during timeout dunking performances by fan patrol.
Twitter / George V. Panagakos
Jamison plays limited minutes (just over 28) and only snags 5 rebounds, while Haywood, limited to 0 rebounds in the first half, gets only 2.