Sports

Heat Holds off Wizards’ Comeback, Splits Home-and-Home Series

The Washington Wizards scored just 29 first-half points, shot just 38 percent for the game and John Wall was shut out until the fourth quarter.

Yet the Wizards had a chance to tie or take the lead on its final possession, but a Bradley Beal jumper with 0.2 seconds left was off-target, allowing the Miami Heat to escape D.C. with a 91-88 victory Friday.

Down by as many as 25 points in the first half, the Wizards nearly pulled off an improbable comeback, largely thanks to Beal’s 22 points and seven rebounds in the second half.

But afterwards, his mind was on the last shot.

“I felt like it was a good look,” said Beal, who finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds. “I’m still debating if I should have shot the three, or went to my step-back. That’s a shot I make every day. I’ll have another opportunity to be in that situation again and it will be a different result.”

The Wizards (9-6) scored a season-low in total points against a team it defeated 102-93 on Wednesday in South Florida.

The Wizards, which entered Friday on a four-game winning streak and ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring, went 0-13 from three-point range and scored two fast-break points in the first half.

In the second half, the team’s defense intensity picked up, holding the Heat (7-8) to only two fast-break points and forcing 17 turnovers.

“We didn’t make shots and we got down on ourselves,” head coach Scott Brooks said about the team’s first half performance. “We made shots in the second half. Offensively, you can’t let the game change how you play.”

Heat center Hassan Whiteside controlled the paint with 22 points and 16 rebounds. He only missed two shots with nearly all of them within 5 feet from the rim.

“Hassan came to play,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He getting better each week of this season, just in terms of learning how to impact winning for this basketball team.”

As for Wall, he said after the game fluid built up in his left knee that “held him back.” He said it happened for a second time this season, but he still finished Friday’s game with eight points and eight assists.

Wizards big man Jason Smith brought the team some much needed energy off the bench late in the third to help the team outscore Miami 28-16 in the quarter.

“We are tired of putting ourselves in those kind of situations,” said Smith, who scored five points in nearly 10 minutes of action. “We know it is about competing out there. In the first, we can’t dig ourselves a hole and expect to climb out of it, especially on our home floor. We will look at a lot of film and move forward.”

The Wizards are on the road Sunday against the Toronto Raptors (10-5). Washington defeated the Raptors 107-96 in Canada on Nov. 5.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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