The Washington Wizards were the hotter team to start this one, but the return of Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo kept things very close. Surprisingly it was Duncan Robinson who was the defensive anchor to start with multiple steals. Bradley Beal made things difficult for the Miami Heat running up the score a little bit early on. The Wizards defense had the Heat working hard to score in the first quarter. But with Jimmy Butler and P.J. Tucker being aggressive and attacking the rim, Miami stayed right within striking distance. Jimmy would carry the brunt of the offense and the Heat would go into the second up two. The Heat didn’t score a three in the first quarter.
Miami would attempt to confuse the Wizards’ offense with multiple defensive sets as they switched from man-to-man to zone on multiple possessions. It was fairly effective, but like in years past the zone defense opened up the opportunity for the Wizards to sink threes…and they did. Luckily, Bam was on attack mode keeping things tied up with some highlight-reel plays. Something has to be said about Caleb Martin, who has been absolutely relentless on defense as a member of the Miami Heat. He’s still raw but has so much potential. The Heat started to push the ball in transition and it led to a 12-2 run as the Heat went up by 7. Gabe Vincent stepped up in the absence of Herro showing off his athleticism on both ends. Strong play from Beal and Kyle Kuzma pulled the Wizards back within two but Bam and Jimmy would score consistently keeping the Heat up 7 at the half.
Once again it was Jimmy and Bam carrying the offense to start the second half. Jimmy’s dominance in the mid-range is something to behold. As Jimmy ages he’s adding crafty elements to his game that will serve him deep into his career as it did Dwyane Wade. I have to highlight Tucker, he’s been excellent in his role so far with Miami. Whether that be to bring it on defense or hit the open three, he’s always ready. With Miami rolling on offense the Heat managed to get out ahead to a 17 point lead. After struggling early, Duncan broke out his slump and hit his looks in the third. He was also very active on defense, and that’s a huge improvement for him. Bradley Beal tried to dig the Wizards out of the hole, but Miami’s reserves were fierce as they worked to stay ahead and even extend the lead at times with great three point shooting. Miami went into the fourth up 13.
Gabe Vincent continued his excellent play into the fourth as he added onto his big scoring night. The Wizards were better in this quarter with Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and others hitting looks and they managed to cut the Heat lead down to 10. But Lowry, Adebayo and Butler continued to surge giving the Heat a comfortable lead with five minutes to go. Beal continued to score, but with PJ Tucker, Bam and Jimmy all going off they just couldn’t battle their way back into the game. With Miami ahead by 16 with a minute left Marcus Garrett and Omer Yurtseven all saw court time.
The Wizards are a good team, so for the Heat to have an offensive outing like this without Herro was a great sign in a great win. Also it was great to see so much Dwyane Wade on the broadcast.