Before Tuesday night’s game against the Wizards, Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade talked about how “one moment, one game” could turn the fortunes of the Wizards’ season.
He didn’t expect that moment or that game to come Tuesday night against the Heat and that it would involve one of LeBron James’ favorite foods.
With 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in what could go down as the biggest victory of the Wizards’ season, King James stepped to the free throw line with the Wizards leading by four points.
With the sellout crowd on its feet and the scoreboard flashing that free Chick Fil-A sandwiches would be won if James missed both free throws, the big man did just that.
Over the next six possessions the Heat managed just three baskets and the Wizards ran off the court with the biggest upset of the 2012-13 NBA season – a 105-101 victory over the defending NBA champions.
Jordan Crawford led the way for the Wizards, finishing with a team-high 22 points, including seven in the final quarter. Kevin Seraphin added 16 points and 10 rebounds and Martell Webster added 13 points.
James led the Heat with 26 points, while Wade finished with 24 and Chris Bosh 20.
The only blemish in the Wizards’ win was that Trevor Ariza had to leave the game midway through the third quarter with a calf strain.
Otherwise, it was a memorable night of hoops in the District, and among the guests of honor were Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who orchestrated a win over the defending champion New York Giants 24 hours earlier.
The victory lifted the Wizards’ record to 2-13, while dropping the Heat to 11-4.
The Heat seemed to sleepwalk through most of the game, but the Wizards showed no let-up in the fourth quarter, getting key buckets down the stretch from Seraphin, Webster, Crawford and Nene.
And they never trialed from the 5:09 mark of the first quarter.
The Wizards played a near flawless first half en route to a 60-54 lead at the break. The 60-point outburst was by far their best of the season, nine points better than their previous high of 51 against Charlotte on Nov. 24.
Crawford paced the Wizards with 12 first-half points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range. As a team, the Wizards shot an incredible 58.3 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc.
In fact, all 10 Wizards who stepped on the court in the first half got on the scoresheet.
Just as importantly, the Wizards were relentless in their defense and rebounding. They did not allow a fast-break basket to the Heat until 1 minute remained in the first half when James finished off a steal with a thunderous dunk.
Otherwise, it was a quiet first half for the reigning MVP. Fronted by a energetic Chris Singleton for much of the half, James managed just 9 points in the first half on 4-for-9 shooting.
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade did most of the damage for the Heat in the first two quarters, combining for 25 of the team’s 54 points as the Wizards’ bench, outscored Miami 34-21.