The 1-3 Wizards headed to South Beach to take on the struggling 1-4 Heat. Coming off the heals of four-straight losses, the reigning Eastern Conference champions were looking to get back on track.
The action started with Jimmy Butler knocking down a mid-range jumper, two of his 11 first-quarter points. Bam Adebayo then went for a vicious slam before being sent away by Daniel Gafford, who returned from a two-game absence from an ankle injury.
Then the Wizards got hot from deep, sinking 77% of their three-pointers in the first quarter. Kuzma poured in three, Poole made two, and Deni added to the total as the Wizards entered the second quarter tied at 34.
The second frame was headlined by Tyler Herro, who torched the Wizards defense on his way to 7 assists before halftime. He was looking like prime John Stockton out there, running the pick & roll efficiently with Bam Adabayo and growing the Heat lead to 10.
Johnny Davis checked into the game and poured in a quick four points, including a smooth mid-range jumper. Then, Gallinari took over, scoring seven straight points to tie the game back up. Herro’s mastery with the ball helped the Heat pull away though toward the end of the second quarter, with Miami entering the half up by 6 points, 60-54.
The third quarter began with a Bam Adabayo jumper, growing the Miami lead to 8. It would be a sign of things to come as well, with Miami getting hot from the floor. Like most 3rd quarters this season, the Wizards got blitzed form the jump, with Miami outscoring them 41-27.
Eric Spoelstra made some terrific halftime adjustments by spacing the floor and playing more shooters, leading to tons of Miami threes. They turned up the aggression on defense as well, getting deflections and steals that lead to easy fastbreak layups.
Jordan Poole turned it on in the 3rd quarter, growing his point total to 19 on the night. The Wizards got as close as 13, but back-to-back Heat threes ballooned the lead to 20 entering the 4th.
It was more of the same in the final frame, with Miami dominating the paint and controlling the pace. Bilal Coulibaly poured in a three, as well as a tough contested layup, impressing in the second half yet again.
With six minutes to go, the Wizards put in their end-of-the-bench lineup. These young, hungry players went on an immediate 10-0 run, forcing a Miami timeout. This group has been so fun to watch this season, playing with passion and heart every second they’re on the floor.
Despite a hard fought effort in the 4th quarter, the Wizards continued third-quarter struggles were their downfall, falling to 1-4 on the season. Washington lost 121-114, their third straight loss.