Washington Wizards Upset Miami Heat On The Road, 114-103
The Washington Wizards are undermanned and their chances of winning without a real center are tough. Randy Wittman has been forced to play super small-ball, often playing three or four guards together along side Jared Dudley.
Against the Miami Heat, who have one of the most underrated front courts in the league with Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh, the Wizards were completely outmatched. Ryan Hollins — bless his soul — isn’t capable of defending someone like Whiteside, who’s been one of the most vicious centers in the NBA this season. Dudley is 6’7″ and isn’t exactly the best match up against Chris Bosh — a perennial All-Star.
With all of that said, it wouldn’t be #soWizards unless they somehow got the win.
Washington started the game off guns blazing and never really looked back. Wall suffered a bruised knee and wasn’t able to walk off the court on his own power on Sunday night against the Dallas Mavericks, but played through the pain and wasn’t affected.
Wall pushed the ball up the court, finished in transition and got steals on the opposite end of the floor. Beal did a great job of trailing Wall and benefited from his unselfishness.
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Porter wasn’t hitting many shots right out of the gate, but he grabbed eight rebounds in the first quarter.
Porter grabbed a career-high 11 boards on Sunday night and beat the total tonight in Miami.
He finished the game with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
He also drew an offensive foul on Goran Dragic with just a minute or so remaining in the game, which secured the win for the Washington Wizards.
Eventually, Porter is going to have to start hitting shots from deep. He looks a lot more comfortable inside the 3-point arc, but the Wizards need their wings to hit shots from beyond that. I don’t think he’s a bad shooter; he just hasn’t found his touch. But perhaps he can’t shoot. Otto is weird.
The guards were also fantastic.
Beal came through with a few timely baskets in the fourth, finishing the game with 21 points and 4 assists. While he did attempt 24 shots, most of them were in rhythm. With Marcin Gortat out, the Wizards need Beal to increase his field goal attempts and his percentages won’t always look great. As long as he’s staying aggressive — like he did tonight — you can live with the result.
Wall added 26 points on 9-13 shooting with seven assists. Over the past several weeks, Wall has played at an MVP level. We were all pretty terrified that he would continue to struggle after starting the season on such an awful note, so it’s great to see him bounce back. Most importantly, he’s not forcing the issue and is finally looking comfortable in Washington’s new offense.
And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Neal, who scored 21 points on 9-12 shooting off the bench.
Neal hit numerous clutch shots, including a dagger 3-point shot from the corner. You’re going to get Good-Gary and Bad-Gary. There’s really no in-between. Lately, we’ve gotten Really-Good-Gary. He’s playing at an All-Star level right now, which is strange to say, because, well, it’s Gary Neal.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing average players have career nights against the Washington Wizards, so it’s great to be on the other end of the spectrum. Neal is exactly what the Wizards needed off the bench. He’s been invaluable, really.
Everyone who played tonight found a way to contribute. I didn’t think the team had much of a chance with Gortat out, but they still found a way to come out with a victory. Before tonight’s game, the Heat were the first team in the Eastern Conference.
The Washington Wizards will now head home to the nation’s capital to take on the struggling Houston Rockets at home on Wednesday. Gortat should be back in town for that game. Now, we’ll just have to see if the Wizards can finally build some momentum after getting a good win on the road.