Despite an impressive 38-point performance by Nick Young, The Washington Wizards lose 113 to 121 to the Miami Heat.
Young scored 10 points in the first quarter as Washington jumped out to an early lead. The second quarter saw both teams throw defense right out the window as they scored a combined for 79 points, including nine consecutive baskets by Dwayne Wade (41 pts, 5 reb).
Wade and Young swapped buckets through out the game as the Wizards kept it close mid-way through the third quarter. With 7:47 remaining in the third period Young sprained his ankle and missed the rest of the quarter.
In Young’s absence rookie John Wall began attacking the basket more, as he finished the night with 24 points and 12 assists. Starting for the injured Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis also helped pick up Young’s slack with his only two baskets of the night (9 pts, 4 reb) coming at the end of the third.
Young returned to the game in the fourth quarter but was noticeably hobbled by his injured ankle. The Wizards decided to look for other avenues of scoring, which led to a few empty JaVale McGee possessions.
McGee did have a productive night, scoring 18 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, but his decision-making in important situations remains in question. His missed 13-foot hook shot with 7:37 remaining wouldn’t have been that bad if he were only ten feet or so closer to the rim.
A night after shooting 1 for 18, Chris Bosh bounced back and scored 15 points to go with his 8 rebounds, including an important 18-foot jumper with a little less than 3 minutes remaining.
Wade and teammate LeBron James (25 pts, 9 reb, 7 ast) helped extend their lead to 11 points mid-way through the fourth, and the Wizards were never able to recover.
Wizards Coach Flip Saunders did employ an interesting strategy with two minutes remaining when the team began intentionally fouling Heat C Erik Dampier. Saunders was looking to stop the clock while also sending a poor free-throw shooter to the line. Saunders plan back fired as Dampier, who is shooting slightly above 40 percent on his free throws this season, made 3 out of 4 shots.
This was the Wizards’ first game since they traded Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong to the Atlanta Hawks. The Wizards newcomers didn’t put much of a dent on the stat sheet. Mike Bibby went scoreless from the field but managed to dish out 4 assists in only ten minutes of play. Maurice Evans scored 7 points and rookie Jordan Crawford scored his only basket of the night on a circus layup at the end of the third quarter.
The Wizards have Dallas Mavericks at the Verizon Center next. The Mavericks are currently on a 4 game win streak; the Wizards have lost 4 in a row.
Game Notes: Wizards F/C Andray Blatche missed the game due to a hip strain. Heat G/F Mike Miller did not play against his former team due to an ear infection. Miller suffered hard blow to the head against Indiana on February 15th, and has missed the last four games.