John Wall turned in another All-Star performance with 26 points as the Wizards knock down the Heat, 114-103. Bradley Beal and Gary Neal each chipped in with 21 as the Wizards beat another upper echelon Eastern Conference foe on the road.
There was a lot of uncertainty whether John Wall would play tonight. He bruised his knee the night before and it was unclear how effective he would be if he played. Effective he was to the tune of 26 points on 9-13 shooting including 7-7 from the free throw line. More importantly, Wall turned the ball over just twice and completely controlled the pace of this game.
From the way things started, it looked like Hassan Whiteside was going to have his way against the Wizards’ small ball lineup. Whiteside had two early dunks for the Heat and scored six straight points but the Heat still trailed.
Then small ball took over. Gary Neal would find Wall in transition who zipped past everyone to bang home a dunk and stretch the Wizards’ lead to 8, 20-12. Gary Neal got into the scoring party and knocked down his first three jumpers as the Wizards led 29-19 after one.
The bench was huge tonight for the Wizards scoring 38 points including 21 from Gary Neal. Garrett Temple only hit one field goal but it stretched the Wizards lead out to 14, 38-24 early in the second period. The Heat countered that with an 11-3 run of their own slicing the lead to six.
The Wizards controlled the pace as this was an up and down type game. The Heat shot a very hot 62% from the field in the first half but trailed the Wiz, 60-55.
The Heat’s hot shooting carried over to start the third quarter as they raced out to a 14-4 run. Otto Porter hit some very timely jumpers, specifically in the third quarter tonight which ended a couple of the Heat’s runs. Gary Neal knocked down a three pointer for the Wiz and then hit a jumper on his next possession cutting the Heat lead to two, 82-80 as Neal started 7-8 from the field.
The Wiz ended the quarter on a nice 7-0 run to regain the lead 87-84 heading into the fourth.
Remember how I said the Wizards controlled the pace? The Heat didn’t feel comfortable with Whiteside on the floor as the Wizards were getting out in transition so the big man was tied to the bench in the fourth even though he was 7-7 from the field.
Some controversy occurred as Beal drove to the hole, it didn’t look like a Heat player hit the ball but Brad juggled it which should have been a travel. Instead, Brad kicked it out to Neal who knocked down a corner three to take a 108-103 lead late in the fourth.
The Wizards locked the Heat down on defense as they wouldn’t score the rest of the game. Wizards snag another impressive road win 114-103.