Bradley Beal decides to photobomb John Wall after Wizards beat Heat
Indeed, the start was too good to be true as the Wizards went for what John Wall called a "signature" win. The Wizards led by 34 points in the first half and were on their way to their most significant win of the season against the Miami Heat. It wouldn't be that easy, but they still got it done in from of 20,356 at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.
It was the second win in a row for Washington (18-19) -- and first of 2014 after four losses here -- and the third consecutive loss to Miami (27-11), which had its 22-game winning streak vs. Southeast Division opponents snapped.
The Wizards had four players score in double figures in the first half and seven for game, the first time that has happened this season.
Wall finished with a team-high 25 points on 7-for-14 shooting, nine assists and five rebounds; Bradley Beal had 19 points, five rebounds and four assists; Nene had 19 points, a career-high nine assists, four rebounds and three blocks; Marcin Gortat added 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks; Trevor Ariza had 10 points despite 102-degree fever; and off the bench Trevor Booker compiled 13 points and 11 rebounds and Martell Webster 11 points.
Chris Bosh led all scorers with 26 points for Miami and LeBron James had 25. But they only got eight points from Dwyane Wade, three from Shane Battier and none by Ray Allen.
Turning point: With the Heat dangerously close in the fourth, Wall blocked Allen's shot at the rim. Then Bosh made a move on Nene, who sent his left-handed layup into the stands. Both plays held off the rally as the Wizards scored points off those plays, with Garrett Temple's jump shot stretching the lead back to 97-83.
Key stat: The Wizards had 12 assists in the first quarter, when they took a 43-18 lead. They ended with 30 assists on 41 field goals.
Short rotation: Coach Randy Wittman basically didn't play Otto Porter, Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton or Eric Maynor for the second game in a row. Instead, he stayed with Webster, Booker and Temple who combined to contribute 27 points. Wittman stuck with starters Ariza, Gortat and Wall for the entire third quarter when they was sluggish and the Wizards turned the ball over six times in their last seven possessions and had their lead trimmed to 86-77. Porter, Singleton and Seraphin played the final 54 seconds.
From the locker room: "That first quarter ... was really good to watch. We moved the ball as well as we have. We defended. We got out and ran. We made the extra pass. That was fun to see." -- Wittman
"We knew they were going to come out with a chip on their shoulder after losing two in a row. This is a game they probably thought they could get back on track and we just wanted to come out here and compete. Against those teams, you just got to find a way to make shots. Tonight, we made shots that we've been making on the road that we haven't been making at home." -- Wall
"It's easy to get up for these games. The most important thing is when the teams below .500 come in here and if we're able to have that intensity, and sense of urgency, then we'll be a scary team in the East." -- Webster
"There is no way we can give up 70 points in the first half. We can't give up 43 points in the first quarter on 77% shooting. It just can't happen. You know it is not physical. I think it is more mental than anything. Either it is mental fatigue or lack of focus and it is all trickling down to our play on the floor." -- James
Up next: The Wizards will practice Thursday before playing back-to-back games at Verizon Center on Friday vs. Chicago Bulls and Saturday vs. Detroit Pistons, both on CSN at 7 p.m.