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Wizards vs Heat preview: The chase to 50 wins continues against Miami

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With just 3 games remaining in the regular season, Washington needs to go 2-1 to reach the coveted 50 win mark. The Miami Heat are no joke. And since the all-star break, as the combination of Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside put up remarkable numbers.

Miami has a desperation down the stretch as they try and slide into the final Eastern Conference Playoff spot. Coach of the Year candidate Eric Spolstra always has his guys ready to go, so the Wizards will have no easy task closing out the hungry Heat squad.

Game Info

When: Saturday, April 8th at 7:00pm ET

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic

Radio: 1500 AM and Wizards Radio App

Injury Report

Washington Wizards: Markieff Morris (questionable, ankle)

Miami Heat: Dion Waters (out, ankle), Josh McRoberts (out, foot), Luke Babbit (day-to-day)

Keys to the Game

Hungry Heat

The Miami Heat are in complete must-win mode. After a terrible start to the season, Miami has posted one of the best records in the NBA. Washington is going to have to come out and match the energy that the Heat play with.

We might end up needing another Scott Brooks halftime speech to get us around the corner.

Don’t jest, just rest

John Wall was clowning around with the Knicks in the 3rd quarter. Let’s just say it how it is: They underestimated New York.

The near let down at MSG forced the starters, including Wall and Bradley Beal, into extended minutes. These are the games that Washington was supposed to be able “sit” players.

The Wizards need to come out and play like its a matchup against the Cavaliers, because the 3 seed is in reach.

Keep March rollin’

No not the month, I’m talking about Gortat. Last night against the Knicks, Gortat went 7-7 from the field. He hasn’t had a decent game since what feels like the all-star break.

As an integral member of the starting five, Washington needs Gortat to reassert his consistency leading into the playoffs. If he can build some momentum during the final three contests, he will find a much bigger role in postseason contests.

Wizards killer: James Johnson

NBA: Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Washington normally has trouble with long, athletic wings. Johnson has max confidence during his career year. The two don’t combine well.

Johnson is one of the leading candidates for most improved player of the year this season. He’s averaging 12.6 points on 48 percent shooting along with 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in just 26.9 minutes per game.

The Heat use him in some of the same ways they used LeBron James. He obviously isn’t as good, but he’s able to play both big and small and has made a huge difference for them this season. The Wizards have to do what they can to stop him.