I get it, no loss is acceptable for a team pushing for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But if you'd told D.C. fans immediately after the announcement of Nene's knee sprain that the Wizards would be tied heading into the third quarter on the road against the defending champs, who were trying to avoid losing their fourth straight, I'll bet they would have taken it.
The Wizards even had a lead midway through the fourth quarter despite subpar games from John Wall and Trevor Ariza, but they went cold down the stretch, scoring only six points in the final six minutes as the Heat pulled away for the 99-90 win.
In the end, the Big Three were just too much for Washington to handle. In the first half it was LeBron James, who scored 19 of his team-high 23 points in the first two quarters. Then Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh caught fire in the second half, each finishing with 22 points on a combined 18-for-31 shooting.
Marcin Gortat was a beast down low, finishing with 14 points and a career-high tying 18 rebounds, 10 of which he grabbed in the first quarter alone. Bradley Beal also had a good game with team-high 18 points, but Wall (seven points, eight assists, seven turnovers) and Ariza (six points on 2-of-11 shooting, five turnovers) both had games they'd rather forget. If it weren't for the bench scoring provided by Martell Webster (17 points) and Drew Gooden (15 points), Washington wouldn't have even been in the game so late into the fourth quarter.
The Wizards are now a full two games behind the Bulls for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and only a half-game up on the sixth-seeded Nets, making Wednesday's home matchup against the Bobcats -- who are playing well and currently seeded seventh in the East -- all the more crucial.
Road team recaps: BF StoryStream | Washington Post (gamer, sidebar) | AP | CSN Washington (recap, sidebar) | Wiz of Awes | District Sports Page | Wizards.com | Monumental Network | Daily Wizdom
Home team recaps: Hot Hot Hoops | Miami Herald (gamer, sidebar) | South Florida Sun Sentinel (gamer, sidebar) | AP | Heat Index (recap, grades) | All U Can Heat
Postgame interviews: Randy Wittman | John Wall | Bradley Beal | Marcin Gortat
13 - Combined fast break points scored by both the Wizards and Heat last night, which is just nutty.
18 - Rebounds hauled in by Marcin Gortat against the Heat, tying his career high.
TWEETS OF THE NIGHT
OTTO OTTO OTTO pic.twitter.com/qHe6J7RElU— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 11, 2014
Dan Fegan only represents ballers; Andre Miller worth 3.237 Jan Veselys. OK?— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) March 11, 2014
Please note that John Wall hit Al Harrington on target in the opposite corner with this pass. pic.twitter.com/nR37GC9PlY— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) March 11, 2014
if you told me a month ago that Gooden and Miller were killing it in a Wizards-Heat game I'd wonder how Wiz are letting those guys do work.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) March 11, 2014
@SherwoodStrauss Wade tried to get him with the jump shot pumpfake earlier. Spoiler: it did not work.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 11, 2014
@BulletsForever BECAUSE IT'S RANDY WITTMAN 4TH QUARTER TIME— Jack Kogod (@Unsilent) March 11, 2014
How many penalty yards for holding??? pic.twitter.com/Cb2TXzuAgi— Danny (@recordsANDradio) March 11, 2014
VIDEO/GIF OF THE NIGHT
How 'bout some Gort(sw)ats?? (H/T @Truth_About_It)
GAMETHREAD COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
the dc destroyer
Keep calm and Stefon
"I could have had 52. I missed five free throws."- John Wall after his career 47 point performance
#DCTakeOverFam: Wall RGIII Alfred "The Butcher" Ovi Stras Bryce
Soon to be: Stefon Diggs