After Marcin Gortat and Chris Bosh started out the game swapping baskets, Nene blocked LeBron James layup. The Wizards scored the next five points before Bosh and James combined to score six in a row to take an 8-7 lead. The Heat suddenly went cold as Washington made a 9-2 run. James made a 20-footer to bring the Heat back within four, but the Wizards scored another 15 points in a row to take a 31-12 lead with 2:28 left in the first quarter. After the Wizards ran off another five points, Micheal Beasley finally got Miami a basket with a five foot jumper in the lane. The first quarter closed with Miami staring at a 25-point deficit, down 43-18.
First Quarter Observations
- LBJ committed three of Miami's six turnovers, and had a minus-25 rating in the frame. That may be a record.
- The Heat finished the quarter nine-for-22 from the field, and 0-for-four from long range. Conversely, the Wizards went 17-for-22 with five-three pointers (no misses).
- Bosh led the Heat with six points on three-of-eight shooting, while four of DC's favorite had eight or more.
More of the same would greet the Heat after the intermission, Washington continued to fire on all cylinders and Miami failed to regain their scoring touch. The Wizards grew the lead to 29 with nine minutes left in the quarter. Wade sunk a layup followed by the Wizards first miss from deep, an off-balance 26-footer by Martell Webster. Wade made another short shot before Bosh fouled Nene, who made one-of-two. The James-to-Wade connection had a rare miss on an alley-oop and Nene converted a three-point play on a foul by Udonis Haslem. Halfway through the quarter, the Wizards had a 32-point lead. It was this moment that Greg Oden made a triumphant return to the floor, with a two-handed put-back slam dunk. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he's 100% from the field (so far), and the only Heat player who has a positive +/- rating. That wouldn't last for long, though, as the Wizards scored the next four points to run it out to 64-30. Oden made two free throws, Bosh sunk a Wade miss, then Wade hit James with a three-quarter court alley-oop. They didn't miss this time. Bosh sunk a straightaway three, the Wizards missed on, and Oden made another two-handed jam. After a James layup, the Wizards lead was down to 23 with 1:18 left. The half ended with the Wizards on top, 69-48.
Second Quarter Observations
- For a while there, this looked like it could be the night that LBJ failed to register double digits. He's due every 10-years or so, but he closed the half with 13 points.
- It's a measure of my faith that I still think the Heat can pull this one out. Brave or foolish? (I wouldn't put money on it).
- Oden was two-for-two from the field, two-for-two from the line, made one rebound at each end of the floor, one foul and a team best plus-9 in 4:45.
- Shane Battier was invisible, not attempting any shots and registering a block and a foul in 8:30.
- Bosh was the only other HEAT player in double figures, with 11.
The Wiz seemed poised to extend the pain to open the third, making the first four points before Miami got on the board with a short shot by Bosh with 10:15 remaining. Washington was off to the races again, scoring 11 of the first 14 points in the quarter. Norris Cole hit a corner three to draw the Heat back within two-dozen, but Trevor Ariza dunked on an uninterested looking Battier. James then scored five in a row on a technical free throw and two slam dunks. A three-pointer by Battier and a layup by NoCo, and a tough putback by Bosh later, and Miami had closed to within 16. Cole then hit two free throws and Bosh sunk another three to close to 11. Cole hit a long jumper, and James tried to go coast to coast on a steal, getting fouled by John Wall and making both freebies. The quarter ended with Washington ahead by a score of 86-77.
Third Quarter Observations
- Who are these guys? The Heat are in danger of losing their way out of a shot at home court.
- I said it before and I'll say it again - Norris Cole is Miami's X-factor.
- Do you think the Wizards were hearing footsteps going into the fourth?
- A "bad" night for LeBron is seven-for-13 from the field, six-for-six from the stripe, six boards, six helpers, and two steals - but there's one quarter left.
The Wizards opened on a 6-2 run before the king tipped one in and Bosh sunk a 17-footer from the top of the key. Nene missed a dunk, Cole missed a three, Wall missed a layup but drew a foul on Cole, then Wall made both free throws to keep the Heat 11 down. Garrett Temple rattled home a 17-footer before Bosh hit ANOTHER three pointer to keep the Heat in it. Miami was down by 11 points with 6:28 remaining. The Heat just couldn't turn the corner at the end, letting the Wiz run off eight points. With 2:20 left, the Heat signaled surrender by putting Udonis Haslem, Roger Mason Jr, and James Jones on the floor. They finished on the short side of the scoreboard, 114-97.
Fourth Quarter Observations
- If the season ended today, Miami would face the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round. Miami would win a best of seven against the Bobcats in three games.
- By the same token, the Wizards would hold down the five-seed and face off with the Toronto Raptors. THAT series would be interesting, but the winner would be cannon-fodder for the Heat or the Pacers.
- Jones was spectacular in his small sample size, sinking both of his three point attempts, scoring six points in 2:19.
- Bosh was Miami's best player of the night, scoring 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting with seven boards.
- LBJ was pretty good too, finishing with 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
- Norris Cole posted 15 points and seven helpers with three steals.