Once again, Marcin Gortat was rock solid with 15 points and 12 rebounds and his fellow front court mate Nene chipped in with 16 points.
The Verizon Center was dead to start this one as it looked like both teams were more concerned with getting this game over with before the snowstorm hit:
Hassan Whiteside went down early with a back injury in the second quarter for an already depleted Heat team. Without Whiteside to protect the rim, the Wizards were able to get shots in close and Gortat didn’t have to worry about his hook shot getting sent back.
Without Whiteside’s rim protection, John Wall and Marcin Gortat were able to run this pick-and-roll to perfection to end the half as the Wizards enjoyed a 51-37 lead.
Once the second half came around, the Heat looked like a team looking to hop back on the plane and get to the next city.
Gary Neal would hit a three pointer early in the fourth quarter to stretch the Wizards’ lead out to 20 and they wouldn’t look back. Wizards cruise to a 106-87 win, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Wizards shake up the starting lineup: Randy Wittman opted to start the game with Nene and Marcin Gortat in the front court. Seemed like déjà vu as the Wizards ran their first three plays for Nene on the block. Nene started the game 3-4 from the field as he and Gortat scored 9 of the Wizards first 15 points with 8 coming in the paint. The combination of Nene and Gortat worked pretty well tonight as the duo combined for 31 points and 18 rebounds.
Spacing was thrown off as the Heat were able to pack the paint as neither Nene or Gortat is going to stretch the floor. As expected, when Dudley came in, the floor spacing was much improved and the ball didn’t stick. The Nene-Gortat experiment worked for one game but realistically, it probably won’t fix any problems long-term for this team as Nene ended this game with a +/- of +1 whereas Dudley was +22.
Wizards turn the Heat over: The Wizards turned the Heat over 21 times tonight leading to 27 points for the good guys. The Wizards had nine steals in the first half including three by Nene who often poked the ball away when his man brought the ball down low. Part of the turnover problem was due to good defense from the Wizards and part can be chalked up injuries to the Heat backcourt and a team uninterested in playing the second half of a back-to-back.
Bradley Beal was very efficient tonight: Beal scored 18 points on 7-13 shooting in just 25 minutes of play tonight. Beal assumed a bit of the ball handling duties while Wall was on the bench. Beal ended the night with just two assists but looked very comfortable with the ball in his hands weaving through the lane. I don’t know if this is a sign of things to come or if it was just for tonight but it looks like Beal has added a hesitation move to his arsenal. On multiple occasions, Beal got into the paint and used a hesitation dribble to get an open look. Only time will tell if Brad will use this move more often or if it was just a one-game mirage.