Wizards down Heat 114-108, Miami to face Hawks in play-in
See you next Tuesday.
In the final road game of the 2022-23 regular season, the Miami
Skyforce Heat suffered a 114-108 loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday. The loss officially secured a play-in spot for Miami, who will be the No. 7 seed, for the first time in franchise history.
Over half of the Heat’s regular starters — Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro — sat out, as well as Kyle Lowry, Kyle Lowry and Nikola Jovic. Their starting five consisted of Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, Haywood Highsmith and Cody Zeller.
Victor Oladipo tallied a game-high 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting, including 7-of-16 from 3-point range, in 26 minutes off the bench. Zeller had 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, adding five rebounds. Cain posted 12 points with seven boards in 31 minutes, converting on four of his eight shot attempts.
Gafford led Washington with 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting; Corey Kispert, who’s emerged onto the scene in recent weeks, had 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting; Johnny Davis added 16 points while Jay Huff recorded 13 points and Delon Wright added 11 points.
Gafford, who knocked down his first nine shots, put Washington ahead 21-17 with under four minutes left in the opening quarter. A Jamal Cain fastbreak and-1 followed by a corner triple snapped a string of eight consecutive missed field goals for Miami, who entered the second period down 26-23.
Goodwin’s putback layup gave Washington the 41-39 lead with 5:41 left in the first half. The lead spiked to five before Zeller’s and-one with three seconds left cut the halftime deficit to 53-51.
Miami shot 42.9 percent in the first half, including 6-of-22 from beyond the arc (27.3 percent), while Washington shot 46.3 percent and 2-of-18 from 3-point range (11.1 percent).
The Wizards opened up the second half on a 24-8 run. Nunn’s 3-pointer plus a pair of Huff free throws widened their advantage to 23 before seven straight from Oladipo and Martin cut it to 86-71 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
Miami eventually trimmed the deficit down to six with 30.8 remaining — in large due to Oladipo — but the effort ended up being too little, too late.
Heat officially clinch No. 7 seed, earn play-in bid against Hawks:
As a result of the Boston Celtics’ 121-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday, the Heat — who clinched the No. 7 seed with their loss — will play the Atlanta Hawks in Tuesday’s 7/8 play-in matchup.
This will be Miami’s first play-in bid since it was implemented in 2019-20.
The Heat downed the Hawks in three of their four matchups this season. In their four meetings, Miami’s scored 117.7 points per 100 possessions, its fourth-most against any opponent — behind only the Denver Nuggets (118.8), Portland Trail Blazers (118.9) and Utah Jazz (123.7).