Recap: Wizards stun LeBron James and the Miami Heat at home

Jan 15, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) shots the ball as Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (31) and Heat center Chris Bosh (1) defend in the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

How ’bout it?!?

Washington has been searching for a signature win all season long, but who would’ve thought it would come against LeBron James and the Miami Heat? After being down by as much as 34 points, the Heat chipped away at Washington’s lead, but it wasn’t enough to stop John Wall and Co. The Wizards picked up the pace in the fourth quarter and eventually went on to stun the Heat by 17 points at home, handing them their 3rd consecutive loss. Here are the Bullet Points:

  • LeBron James promised to have a great game tonight, but he was held to a very quiet 25 points and 7 assists. At this point, we all expect James to have spectacular games every single time he steps on the court, but the Wizards didn’t look too affected by his impact. Trevor Ariza did a pretty good job at stopping him from getting to the basket, and when he did, Nene and Marcin Gortat made sure to meet him with force. Overall, I thought the Wizards did a wonderful job on James.
  • Bradley Beal has been on a slump this month, but he looked spectacular against Dwyane Wade tonight. He held Wade to just 8 points on 11 shot attempts, but his contributions on the offensive side of the floor were even greater. Beal scored 19 points on just 13 shot attempts, and he also added 5 rebounds and 4 assists to his totals. Unlike the past few games, Beal didn’t settle for long jump shots which has hurt him this season. He attacked the basket, shot the open 3, and made sure to pick his spots on the court. He looked very good tonight.
  • Even though John Wall will get the recognition for tonight’s win over the Heat, I thought Nene played just as good, if not better, when the Wizards needed him the most. Nene scored 19 points for the second straight game, but he also dished out 9 assists. Nene is easily one of the best passing big men in the NBA and he never ceases to amaze me with his court vision. With Chris Anderson out with soreness, it became pretty obvious that Chris Bosh and Michael Beasley would have trouble defending Nene in the post. He dominated inside and got whatever he wanted on the offensive side of the floor. Nene has played two great games since returning to the starting lineup and he’s shown no signs of slowing down.
  • Without a legitimate starting center tonight, the Heat struggled to defend Washington’s front court. Marcin Gortat put up some good numbers, scoring 12 points to go along side 9 rebounds, but Trevor Booker also added 13 points (5-5 shooting) and 11 rebounds off the bench. Both bigs, especially Booker, really helped stabilize the Wizards on both sides of the floor. Booker is a beast on the boards and his production hasn’t slipped since moving back to the bench. He’s honestly becoming the motor this Wizards team needed right from the start. There aren’t too many players in the NBA that play with the energy Booker plays with every single game. It’s great to see.
  • Now on to Johnny Basketball: John Wall has struggled against elite-NBA teams in the past, but he didn’t seem rattled by LeBron James and the Heat whatsoever. He scored 25 points on just 14 shot attempts, grabbed 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. Wall played one of the most complete games he’s played all season tonight. Instead of settling for jump shots, Wall attacked the basket every chance he got, including multiple times in the fourth quarter where it looked like the Heat were ready to make a comeback. He knocked down 3 of his 6 three point tries and I thought he mixed it up very well offensively. Wall is quickly becoming a superstar and beating teams like the Heat will make him a household name.

I didn’t know what to expect before the game, but the Wizards were up to the test against Miami tonight. Washington hasn’t looked this hungry, focused, or driven all season long, so I can’t credit them enough for showing up against a Heat team that lost 2-straight games prior to tonight’s match up.

Washington utilized their big men early on and set the tempo for the rest of the game. LeBron James had another spectacular game, but it wasn’t enough to shake John Wall, Nene, or even Bradley Beal. The Wizards have struggled at home, so for them to beat a very motivated Heat team was certainly unexpected.

They were searching for a signature win, and I think it’s safe to say the Wizards got one tonight. They’ll have to carry this momentum over against the Chicago Bulls on Friday.