The Miami Heat suffered a cold spell in the second half of its meeting with the Washington Wizards, losing its first game of the preseason 100-82. Miami only scored 33 points after intermission, and Bradley Beal scored 29 points through three quarters with an impressive 10-of-15 shooting performance from the field.
This game had all the makings of an exhibition game, as evidenced by the teams' combined 46 turnovers and Chris Andersen's 3-point attempt. Miami turned the ball over 25 times, playing sloppily throughout. LeBron James supplied the Heat's highlight moment of the night when he registered two impressive dunks in a 27-second stretch in the second quarter. The four-time MVP made a reverse dunk on a fast-break and then slammed the ball home with one hand off a lob pass from Chris Bosh. James scored the game's first points on an alley-oop pass from Mario Chalmers.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP finished with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field in 25 minutes. Dwyane Wade, who did not play in Miami's previous game, tied a team-high with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds. He played aggressively, making a few nice layups and even ending the half with a nice dunk off a James lob pass. Wade even made a couple jump-shots and generally looked healthy. On the flip side, though, the three-time NBA champion registered five turnovers.
Bosh added 13 points and eight rebounds -- a welcome sign -- in 26 minutes. He attempted to post up his man a few times, but never received the ball down low. Shane Battier shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including four 3s. Another positive performance came from Roger Mason Jr., who played for the first time since Miami's opening preseason game and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. One of Mason's three triples came off a James cross-court pass from the post -- reminiscent of the 3s Mike Miller sunk in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals. At 6-foot-5, Mason can possibly come off the bench if Battier or Ray Allen are having off nights.
Erik Spoelstra started Udonis Haslem tonight, and Miami's lack of 3-point shooting in the starting lineup certainly contributed to the 23 percent shooting in the third quarter. Mario Chalmers shot an abysmal zero-for-seven from downtown Tuesday night, and James only attempted one 3. Spoelstra may have to consider adding more shooting to the starting lineup. James plays at his best when he has shooters at his disposal.
Ray Allen received the night off, and Spoelstra also elected not to play Michael Beasley. It was somewhat puzzling to see Spoelstra play a lineup of Norris Cole, Mason, James Jones, Battier and Andersen for extended stretches tonight. Of course, the Heat will definitely have either James or Wade on the court during every meaningful basketball minute this season. But it was a little odd not to have a scorer like Beasley on the floor in a lineup he'd be suited to lead.
Miami will visit the Brooklyn Nets Thursday at 8 p.m.