The Miami Heat first lost Hassan Whiteside to a left oblique strain injury in the second quarter. They would then lose their third straight game, and seven of their last nine, after getting blown out by the Washington Wizards 106-87 to begin their five-game road trip.
The game was a costly one in addition to yet another bad loss. The team was already without their starting backcourt of Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic in addition to backup point guard Beno Udrih, which forced them to start Gerald Green and Tyler Johnson. Also missing in action were Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen. As if that wasn't enough, Luol Deng got hit in the eye by rookie Kelly Oubre Jr. in the closing moments of the game and had to be helped off the court to the locker room.
Without their best guards, the Heat racked up 16 turnovers in the first half -- their highest total in a half this season and promptly fell behind despite shooting well. With Green having a poor shooting night and Chris Bosh scoring 18 points but far from having a dominant game, Miami simply didn't enough firepower to keep up with the Wizards over the course of the game. With Whiteside out, there was little to stop Washington from scoring inside and on drives to the rim.
Far too often lately, the Heat play long stretches of the game down double-digits and the Wizards would open up their first double-digit lead with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Though they managed to cut their turnovers down in the second half, the Wizards still scored 27 points off of 21 total turnovers -- a season high for a Heat opponent. Too many times we're seeing the Heat commit several unforced turnovers to dig themselves a bigger hole and their lack of outside shooting has only been magnified with so many players missing in action.
Washington had six players score in double-digits with John Wall and Bradley Beal leading the way with 18 points each.
Even with all the setbacks, Miami cut the lead to 61-56 after a Bosh 3-pointer with five minutes left in the third quarter. Unfortunately, that would be the closest they would get, with the Wizards connecting on eight straight shots to increase their lead to 15 points at the end of the third.
With several players missing, forward Jarnell Stokes saw his first action as a member of the Heat and promptly scored off of a nifty post-up move. Amar'e Stoudemire had a nice game with a season-high 11 points off the bench.
The Heat fall to 23-20 with another tough matchup against the Toronto Raptors next on Friday.