Missing five of their top six producers so far this season, the Wizards entered tonight’s matchup with the Heat with a roster comprised mostly of has-beens and G-Leaguers. Naturally, after a rough first quarter they dominated Miami and coasted to a 123-105 victory.
This was a crazy game by nearly any standard. Led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Heat entered the game 24-8 and in second place in the East. The Wizards have been bad at full strength, and were missing Bradley Beal, Thomas Bryant, Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura, and Moe Wagner.
But, guys getting opportunities due to the rash of injuries made the most of them. The Wizards got career-high scoring outbursts from Garrison Mathews, Jordan McRae and Ian Mahinmi.
How nuts was this game? Mathews entered the game with 101 minutes on the season and 30 career points. He drew Harden-esque fouls on two different three-point attempts and shot 12-13 from the free throw line en route to 28 points.
Mahinmi hit 10-11 from the floor, including a pair of threes to finish with 25.
McRae had a career-high 29 points, as well as a career-high 8 assists. And he shot 6-8 from three-point range.
Ish Smith came off the bench to register 19 points, 7 assists and a pair of steals. He also flipped in a couple circus shots on crafty drives in the fourth quarter to stave off Heat comeback attempts.
And Anzejs Pasecniks grabbed 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes.
Probably the craziest stat of the night was this: the Wizards trailed 39-29 after the first quarter. They outscored the Heat 94-66 the rest of the way.
Also, the Wizards played passable defense. It was the first time since November 4 that Washington held an opponent to fewer than 110 points. The roster of misfits and afterthoughts picked on the Heat for 13 steals — tied for second most by a Miami opponent this season.
What does all this mean? Not much really, but it was fun for the fans and the team. Mathews, for example, may never turn into a bona fide rotation player, but when he’s old and gray, he’ll be able to tell his grandkids about the night he lit up the Miami Heat for 28 — on just nine field goal attempts.
Mathews, by the way, became just the 23rd player in NBA history to score 28 or more points on 9 or fewer field goal attempts. No one has done it more than once.
Tonight’s win was yet another entertaining installment in the Wizards 2019-20 season. They may not be good, but they’re consistently fun to watch.
Player Production Average and Scoreboard Impact Rating
Below are results from Player Production Average (PPA) and Scoreboard Impact Rating (SIR) — metrics I developed to measure individual production and their impact on the game. PPA credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that hurt. PPA is pace neutral and accounts for defense. SIR translates production into points on the scoreboard in this game.
Wizards PPA and SIR
Heat PPA and SIR