The Miami Heat usually struggle when playing on the road against the Washington Wizards, but losing by 21 points (107-86) isn’t something that’s ordinary, with an excellent shooting night for the home team, led by John Wall and Rasual Butler as opposed to the cold shooting from anyone not named Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade on the other side.
Wade scored 21 points on 9-of-13 from the field and Bosh finished with 9-of-14, scoring 21. However, the Heat shot 45.8% from the field with them. Without them it was just 33.3%. For a team that’s about spacing and moving the ball a lot, when the 3-point shots doesn’t drop, there isn’t a lot to do, as they ended up hitting only 2-of-22 from beyond the arc, just 9.1%. The Wizards were a lot more efficient, making 52.6% of their attempts from beyond the arc and shooting 54.2% overall.
John Wall scored 18 points to go with 13 assists, constantly making his way into the Heat’s paint before cutting the ball back outside. He constantly found open players for the big shots, and even with a hand in their faces, Wizards players found it impossible to miss during certain stretches. The Heat spreading out helped Marcin Gortat in the paint to finish with an easy 15 points and 10 rebounds, while the Wizards scored 40 points in the paint.
The Wizards are good, despite losing Trevor Ariza during the summer. Even when Paul Pierce isn’t having a very good offensive day, he brings them a certain sense of responsibility and wisdom to the offense that wasn’t there before. It frees up Wall to do other things, making him a lot better, even if it doesn’t always show it on the stat sheet. The Wizards are this good even when Nene isn’t playing because of Plantar Fasciitis.
The Heat did get 11 points from Mario Chalmers, but that was it as far as help to the big two. This team can’t afford to have so many players on off nights. This team is still Chris Bosh and Wade on offense, mainly, but Luol Deng needs to do better than 2-of-7 from the field, while Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, if they even can, need to start contributing more, regardless if their role is on the bench or in the lineup.
Are the Wizards the best in the East? Their record doesn’t show it, only suggests it. Overall, when looking at them, the Bulls, Raptors and Cavaliers, they seem to be in somewhat of a disadvantage talent wise. Their bench is useful, but not exceptional. However, they do have the luxury of being a team that’s been running together for quite some time. As the Spurs constantly show, familiarity and solidarity might be the two most important things when trying to succeed in the NBA.