NBA Wizards 

Beal’s heroics not enough, Wizards rally falls short

With 5.8 seconds left in the game, the Washington Wizards found themselves in possession of the ball and down two points to the visiting Miami Heat. John Wall inbounded the ball to Bradley Beal who came off a screen at the foul line and caught the ball at the top of the key, behind the three point line. Beal’s defender, Josh Richardson was late closing out, but did close hard. Bradley elected to put the ball on the floor, he got to the elbow and launched a midrange jumper. It was a very clean look for that type of situation, but Beal’s shot wasn’t true and Miami rebounded the ball. Washington was trying to complete their rally from 25 points down, but fell short. The Heat would get revenge for Washington winning on their homecourt on Wednesday night, beating Washington 91-88 after Justice Winslow split a pair of free throws. Defense was an issue for the home team yet again, they didn’t match Miami’s physicality early on and were lax on that end of the floor for an entire half. 

Miami was led by Hassan Whiteside who had 22 points and 16 rebounds, they also got 20 big points from do-it-all forward James Johnson. Johnson hit several timely baskets throughout the game to end Miami droughts and Wizard runs. Dion Waiters only had 13 points, but hit two big three pointers late to help Miami keep their distance from Washington. The Wizards were led by Beal, he scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. John Wall had a very rough night, held scoreless for the first half and shot just 3-of-12 from the floor, finishing with 8 points and 8 assists. After the game, John revealed that he wasn’t right physically.

An inspired third quarter is what got Washington back into the game. The energy from Kelly Oubre and Jason Smith were infectious, getting the once dormant crowd in the Vault involved. Beal would score 14 in the period, but it was the defense from the members of the second unit that were on the floor with him that moved momentum in their favor.

The Washington Wizards have been averaging a shade under 60 points per half this season (59.3), the Miami Heat would hear none of it as they held Washington to 29 first half points. After losing to their division foes on Wednesday night at home, Miami came out and plastered themselves to Washington’s ball handlers and shooters. Holding them to 30% shooting after the first period and 28.6% by the half. Washington attempted 13 three pointers in the first half, failing to connect on any of them. Even harder to believe, John Wall idd not score in two ful quarters(stats).

There wasn’t one Heat player that truly stood out with a remarkable performance in that half, they did it as a team. Whiteside led the way with 7 points and  7 rebounds, but Dragic played a factor as well with 6 points and 5 assists. Justice Winslow had a stretch in the second quarter where he got a put-back dunk, beat Wall in transition with a nice euro-step and pinned a Gortat shot to the glass. That’s the type of effort that Miami was playing with as a whole and Washington failed to match their physicality and it cost them in the first half.

Washington has a day off before their next game, they’ll visit the Toronto Raptors on Sunday for the first of their three game road trip. They return home on November 25 to host Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trailblazers.

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