The Washington Wizards improved their winning streak to six games after defeating the Miami Heat late in the fourth quarter. The American Airlines Arena hosted a hard-fought game from both teams, but the Wizards continued to make shots in the clutch. John Wall and Bradley Beal led the way late by hitting crucial free-throw shots to silence the Heat. Strong performances from Wall and Nene led to a late 105-103 victory in Miami.
The Wizards traveled to Miami after their victorious three game home stand. Paul Pierce returned to the starting lineup after missing his first game of the year due to a toe injury. Both teams came out firing in the first quarter leading to high percentage of shots being made. The Wizards bench players came to play making an early impact scoring 10 points to help give the Wizards an early 29-25 lead.
During the second quarter, the Wizards normal defensive dominance was slowed down by the Heat who put on a superb shooting show. Dwayne Wade and Udonis Haslem led the surge each posting seven points during the second quarter. The Heat seemed unstoppable on offense, shooting an impressive 65% from the field after the first half. However, the Wizards continued to make jump shots and were able to stay behind just by a slim 55-54 margin after the first half.
The Wizards were unable to take major control of the game after the Heat’s third quarter shooting woes. The Heat only went 8-22 from the field while the Wizards shot 9-18 during the third quarter. Despite shooting a poor 36%, the Heat were able to extend their slim lead by three. The Heat were able to stop the Wizards from converting three-point shots to help give them a 79-76 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Bench play from the Wizards continued to help early during the fourth quarter scoring nine points. The Wizards could not contain Dwayne Wade during the fourth quarter as he ended up with 15 fourth quarter points while shooting 6-11 from the field. The Wizards came back and held onto the lead after a Paul Pierce tip-in basket with 1:32 left in the game. Wall and Beal were able to seal the deal after making late game free-throws to win their sixth straight game.
Nene gave a presence off of the bench for the Wizards scoring 20 points while shooting 8-10 from the field and grabbed six boards. Wall also gave a strong performance finishing with 20 points and 10 assists which gave him his 16th double-double for the year. Beal finished with 16 points while adding seven rebounds and two steals. In his return, Pierce recorded 14 points and the eventual game winning tip-in field goal.
Wade finished the game with a the game high 28 points while shooting 12-26 and also added eight assists. Luol Deng added 19 points and Haslem finished with 11 points off of the bench and shot a perfect 5-5.
Topper’s Top Player: Nene. I am giving the big-man some love tonight after he made a statement off of the bench. Nene is proving that he deserves to start again after an impressive performance. Nene scored 20 points off of 8-10 from the field. Nene’s aggressive play off of the bench helped lift his team over the Heat.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 20, 2014
The Wizards improve their record to 19-6 and are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference. Randy Wittman’s team holds a league best six game winning streak and puts his streak on the line against the Phoenix Suns at the Verizon Center on Sunday night.
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