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Wizards Drop Final Home Game to Heat

Hassan Whiteside had 30 points and 12 rebounds to help the Miami Heat defeat the Washington Wizards, 106-103, on Saturday in Washington’s last home game of the regular season before a sellout crowd at Verizon Center in D.C.

Washington sprinted to an eight-point lead early, but couldn’t sustain it against a team that has beaten them three straight times this season.

The Wizards, which averages nearly 15 turnovers per game, but committed 20 Saturday, including an errant pass from Kelly Oubre Jr. over John Wall’s head as the team trailed 104-103 with 11 seconds left.

Heat guard Josh Richardson made two free throws with 9.7 seconds left, and Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal’s last-second three-point attempt was blocked to end the game.

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) attempts a pass to teammate Marcin Gortat (13) in the first quarter of the Wizards' 106-103 loss to the Miami Heat at Verizon Center in D.C. on April 8. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) attempts a pass to teammate Marcin Gortat (13) in the first quarter of the Wizards’ 106-103 loss to the Miami Heat at Verizon Center in D.C. on April 8. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)

“We weren’t locked into the game,” Beal said. “If we play like this, we’re going to get swept [in the playoffs]. We have to figure out what team we’re going to be. [Do] we want to be a hot team moving into the playoffs, or just be a complacent team that’s going to be home early?”

The Wizards (48-32) took a 15-7 lead early on, but when Heat guard Tyler Johnson entered the game halfway through the first, Miami outscored the Wizards the rest of the quarter 21-14.

Neither team had a lead bigger than five points  from then on. The Heat did have Whiteside, however, who also made the game-sealing block on Beal’s three-point attempt.

Miami  took 36 free-throw attempts to the Wizards’ 22, exacerbating a recent sore spot for Washington, particularly the lack of calls for the constantly driving Wall.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said of the free throw disparity. “It is what it is. We just have to control the things that we can control. We’ve talked about it enough within our team. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to get to the line.”

Even with the loss, the Wizards ended the season with 30 home wins, the highest franchise total in 28 years.

“This was good season for us,” said Wizards forward Markieff Morris, who scored a team-high 21 points Saturday. “We finished 30-11. It’s unbelievable.”

The Wizards end the regular season on the road against the Detroit Pistons (36-43) Monday and the Heat again Wednesday.

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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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