The Wizards lost 106-103 to the Heat on Saturday night in their last home regular season game. Though the Wizards managed to lead early in the game, Hassan Whiteside (30 points/12 rebounds) and James Johnson (15 points/11 rebounds/5 assists) had double doubles, and the Wizards committed 20 turnovers which turned into 21 Heat points.
Those performances overshadowed a 21 point performance from Markieff Morris, a double double from Marcin Gortat (11 points/11 rebounds), and a strong performance by Ian Mahinmi, who had 11 points and 9 rebounds.
Despite the loss, this game was very winnable. Washington was leading by four points with 5:22 left after Ian Mahinmi made a reverse layup. And though the Heat made their inevitable run to take the lead, the Wizards managed to come up with a slim 103-102 lead after Wall made one of two free throws with 20 seconds left.
Johnson made the go-ahead layup for the Heat seconds later, but the Wizards still had 11 seconds left where they had a chance to win the game. Instead, Kelly Oubre Jr. made a bad inbounds pass which ultimately sealed the win for them. Oubre started for Otto Porter, who sat out due to back spasms.
After the loss, Washington is 48-22. Though a 50 win season is still within reach, they now must win both of their remaining games — and they will face the Heat one more time next Wednesday in South Beach. It’s gonna be tough to get to that mark if they are as turnover prone as they were tonight.
Anyway, here are some takeaways
The Wizards beat themselves with turnovers
The Wizards’ turnovers are the number one reason why they lost. Oubre’s turnover at the end was a stinger, but Wall and Beal combined for 13 themselves. This must be rectified before Monday’s game on the road against the Pistons.
Hassan Whiteside is the Wizards’ Kryptonite
The Heat center scored 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting and quickly got into a rhythm during the first quarter. He remains a matchup problem for Marcin Gortat, who played nearly the entire period. He also turned on the jets in the fourth quarter, whether it was Gortat or Mahinmi guarding him.
That said, Mahinmi has nice touch around the rim
Mahinmi is best known for his low post defense. But tonight, he showed soft touch around the basket with his offense — it’s better than advertised, and he did a better job slowing down Whiteside than Gortat. I’d like to see him start at center against Miami in the season finale.
Where is Brandon Jennings’ shot?
Jennings shot 1 of 4 from the field in this game and scored 2 total points. For a guard who is known for scoring, that’s frustrating.
He has been a good distributor during his time in D.C., but his scoring has taken a nosedive since he signed with Washington. In fact, Jennings has only scored 10 or more points just twice as a Wizard. I sure hope that the law of averages turns thing around once the playoffs start.