The Miami Heat have had two days to analyze what went wrong in the team's second home loss of the season Wednesday night. Shane Battier took the blame for showing "a second too early" on Draymond Green's game-winning shot, but one could also point to the team's stagnant offense in the third quarter or LeBron James pounding the ball at the 3-point line for several seconds before launching a contested long-range shot with less than two minutes left as contributing factors in the loss.
Now, with the Atlanta Hawks standing at 14-6 -- right where the Heat's records stands -- Miami will have a chance to put one in the win column tonight at home against the Washington Wizards. The Heat should come out with added intensity because of the tough loss to the Warriors and the Heat's embarrassing loss to the league-worst Wizards last week. Miami has no excuses not to blow out this team tonight and to play sharp defense against an offensively inept team. Miami will have to play good defense on Nene, who has now played in 10 games since an injury prevented him from playing at the start of the season. He has begun to resemble the double-double threat he was in Denver, so Miami will need to try and keep him off the glass.
The Wizards will play Miami on the second night of a back-to-back. Washington lost to the Los Angeles Lakers last night, 102-96. Washington was down 14 points at the end of three quarters, but cut the deficit to three with five-and-a-half minutes left. The Wizards refused to employ the Hack-a-Dwight strategy, though, and Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard led the Lakers to victory.
James sat out practice yesterday with a shoulder injury, but will play tonight.
Miami can help soothe the memory of the Heat's losses to Golden State and Washington with some effort on the defensive end of the floor. This Wizards team does not have the talent to match up with Miami, so the Heat just need to play 48 minutes of defense and intensity.