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Wizards vs. Heat final score: Washington can’t overcome sloppy first half in 91-88 loss

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NBA: Miami Heat at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards couldn’t overcome a 29 point first half as they fell to the Heat 91-88 on Friday night. Washington was able to narrow the deficit to a one possession game in the closing seconds, but it wasn’t enough after allowing Miami to run out to a 25 point lead in the second quarter.

Bradley Beal helped spur the Wizards’ comeback with 22 second half points, but his shot to force overtime rimmed out and allowed Miami to avenge their loss to Washington on Wednesday.

Takeaways

John Wall had a ROUGH evening

Normally when the Wizards play against big, imposing centers like Hassan Whiteside, the focus is on how they dominate the opposing center. The thing is, they usually have an even bigger impact on slowing Wall. When he can’t get into the paint, it forces him to kick out to shooters with less airspace to shoot, or settle for bad jumpers.

Tonight was a prime example. Wall didn’t score until the fourth quarter of this one, and finished with just 8 points, 8 assists and 3 turnovers. To make things worse, he didn’t get to the free throw line at all.

Jason Smith plays, good things happen

We’ve been beating this drum a lot lately, but Smith’s performance was another example of how things seem to go better with the bench when Jason Smith is playing at center. Washington was able to build on the momentum the starters had started to develop in the third quarter with Smith in the game and make the game more manageable when the starters re-entered the game in the fourth quarter. He finished with 5 points in just under 10 minutes of action and was a +5 on the night.

If there’s one thing to criticize about Smith’s performance, it’s that he didn’t do enough with the open looks he had. He passed up a few opportunities to get up a shot when he was open that really could have opened things up for Washington and make Miami consider going small.

Just to reiterate: The first half was awful

Here’s the thing with the Wizards’ bad first half: The Heat didn’t even play that well! Miami only shot 44 percent from the field, 29 percent from deep and had a 102.5 Offensive Rating. That’s decidedly average. If Washington could have just mustered up a little more on either end in the first half, they could have won this game with ease.

Game Notes

  • The Wizards missed first 16 threes of game. It wound up nearly balancing out by the end as they made 10 of their final 19.
  • The sun rose this morning. Hassan Whiteside had a double-double against the Wizards.
  • The Wizards’ Offensive Rating in the first half was 58.4. For some context, the Bulls’ Offensive Rating this season is 92.9.

Next up: The Wizards head back on the road to take on the Raptors in Toronto on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.