Tonight, we saw the entire Wizard season flash before our eyes.
Coming into tonight's game, it was clear the Wizards need to win this game, and win it emphatically. Three of the Heat's four best players (Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng) missed tonight's game with various ailments. As bad as the Wizards have been lately, the Heat were basically trotting out Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and a collection of players the Heat generated before the game using NBA 2K15's "Randomize" feature on My Player.
In other words, this game shaped up to be a lot like the ones the Wizards played early in the season, when they were fortunate enough to play several of the league's weakest teams as they raced out to a 19-6 start to the season. And wouldn't you know it, the Wizards looked a lot like the team that was putting the beatdown on the NBA's bottom feeders early in the season tonight, for the first 30 minutes or so, as they raced out to a 35 point lead.
Over the final 18 minutes, the Wizards reverted back to the team we've grown accustomed to since late January. A team that can't score, can't go small, and can't adjust to what the other team is doing. Erik Spoelstra went with a crazy lineup down the stretch to try to get Miami back in the game, and it worked far better than anyone could have expected.
The Heat opted to go with Henry Walker at power forward and Michael Beasley (!!!) at center during the stretch. Rather than try to force them out of this bizarro lineup, the Wizards opted to sit Marcin Gortat (who had 14 points and 17 rebounds) for most of the final frame, including the final 5:23 as the Heat went on a rip off a 49-15 run to make it a one point game and have possession of the ball with 21 seconds to go. Thankfully, the Walker's three (that would have given the Heat the lead, and capped of the second-greatest comeback in NBA history only behind Utah's 36 comeback vs. the Nuggets in 1996) rimmed out, and the Wizards avoided the humiliating loss in name only.
If you're trying to console yourself with the fact that the Wizards won tonight, stop. There's a reason why turds don't have silver linings.