Wizards vs. Heat final score: Wizards lose opener 113-112 on Kelly Olynyk’s last-second putback

It’s that guy again, huh?

In a game that featured 21 lead changes and 19 ties, no basket was more important than Kelly Olynyk’s putback off a Dwayne Wade miss with 0.2 seconds to play in regulation to spoil the Wizards’ regular season opener, 113-112.

The Wizards were looking for a fresh start to the season after last year’s shortcomings, and John Wall looked ready to provide it early. The All-Star reminded everyone what he’s capable of when playing on two healthy knees as he crossed over for a layup and hit a three in transition for the Wizards first five points of the season.

Scott Brooks wants the Wizards taking more three-pointers this year and Markieff Morris took well to that message knocking down both attempts in the first quarter as Washington jumped out to a quick 17-6 lead. But as we’ve become accustomed to with Brooks, he went with the dreaded all-bench lineup that brought the Wizards’ offense to a screeching halt as Miami trimmed the lead to one, 25-24 after the first quarter.

To no surprise, Brooks stuck with the reserves to start the second quarter until the 8-minute mark. For as great as the first nine minutes of the first quarter was for the Wizards, the final eight minutes of the second quarter were equally as bad. Poor defensive effort, missed free throws, and a slew of fouls allowed Miami to hang around. Even with all the mishaps, the Wizards somehow led 59-58 at halftime.

That poor play carried over into the third quarter as the Heat went on a 7-0 run to take a 69-62 lead. Midway through the third period, Jason Smith and Hassan Whiteside dove for a loose ball resulting in a tie up. John Wall ran right at Derrick Jones Jr. and had some words for him as he swiped the ball away from Smith. Wall picked up a technical foul, because, does the game really count if the Wizards don’t get a technical foul?

Washington bounced back with a 10-0 run and regained the lead, 87-85 after three quarters. The teams traded baskets and free throws for most of the fourth quarter but the Miami Heat came up with the big plays when they counted. And more importantly, corralled loose balls (i.e. Olynyk’s offensive rebound) and hit their free-throws.

This was an all too familiar ending for a team who looked awfully similar to last year’s underwhelming squad.

Takeaways

John Wall looks just fine

John Wall will be under a magnifying glass this season and specifically, his knee, but he didn’t disappoint tonight. Wall scored a team-high 26 points to go along with 9 assists in a typical John Wall game.

On the very first play of the game, Wall crossed over for an easy layup at the rim. Next time down, he pulled up for three giving Washington a 5-0 lead in the blink of an eye. But it wasn’t just his scoring early on that was impressive; it was his effort on the defensive end in the first quarter. Wall looked much more energized on the defensive end resulting in deflections and fast break opportunities for the Wizards on the offensive end.

Wall was the only Wizards player to score in double digits in the first half as he notched 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting through the first 24 minutes.

That aggressiveness carried over into the second half as Wall fearlessly attacked the hole and looked like his old self getting out in transition. Outside of a few missed free-throws, there’s not a whole lot to complain about from Wall tonight.

New season, same rotations

Many think this year’s bench is the deepest Washington has had during the Wall era. We got our first taste of the all-reserve unit at the 2:55 mark of the first quarter with the Wizards up 19-13. After a nice drive from Austin Rivers, the Washington offense sputtered with Miami outscoring the Wizards 11-6 the rest of the quarter.

The Wizards carried a 4+ minute field goal drought into the second quarter allowing Miami to tie the game at 33 just minutes into the second period, which forced Brooks to start reinserting his starters.

The All-Reserve unit was a bit better in the second half but still, nothing to write home about. Regardless of who’s on his roster, it doesn’t look like Brooks is going to change his substitution patterns.

Wizards must rely on small ball even though it isn’t the long-term solution

Ian Mahinmi played well in the first quarter but outside of that, the Wizards didn’t get much production from the true center position. Mahinmi and Jason Smith each ended the night with four fouls and were glued to the bench in the second half as neither were viable options.

Jeff Green played terrific tonight as a fill-in at the center position but this won’t be a long-term solution for the Wizards evidenced as they got crushed on the glass, 55-40.

Game 1 Overreactions

  • It doesn’t look like Kelly Oubre is going to take that next step. He was 2-of-8 from the field.
  • The Otto Porter debate will continue all season long. He snagged 11 rebounds but didn’t attempt a single 3-pointer.
  • John Wall is the Wizards best post defender.
  • The Wizards have a huge hole at the center position.
  • Bradley Beal’s head-scratching free-throw issues continue. He was 4-of-6 at the line.
  • The Wizards will probably lead the league in technical fouls this season.

 

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Wizards at Heat: Washington gets run off the court by Miami, 129-102

Ouch, that one hurts.

After blowing out the New Orleans Pelicans just 24 hours ago, the Wizards get a taste of their own medicine tonight as they’re run off the floor by the Heat, 129-102.

The Heat scored the first basket and never relinquished the lead as they held the lead for the entire game and tied the season series with Washington at two games apiece.

James Johnson led the way for Miami with 20 points, and Wayne Ellington added 17 off of the Miami bench as eight Miami players scored in double figures tonight.

Jodie Meeks led the Wizards with 23 and Bradley Beal chipped with 14 but it didn’t matter, as Washington never had a chance in this one.

Points in the paint doom Washington

James Johnson sprinted right by Markieff Morris for an easy dunk for the first basket of the game and was a preview of what Washington’s defense would look like tonight. The Wizards were awful defensively tonight, especially in the painted area.

The Wizards gave up an unfathomable 76 points in the paint this evening in a terrible defensive effort. But it wasn’t just the big guys for Miami who were punishing the Wizards. No, the Heat guards had no resistance when penetrating the lane against a Washington team that looked stuck in the mud the entire night.

With the Washington bigs in the first half, Brooks opted to go with a small ball lineup for most of the third quarter to try and combat Miami’s speed and easy penetration into the painted area but that didn’t work either.

This is starting to become a bad habit and something to look out for as the Pelicans were able to score 60 points in the paint just the night before.

Turnovers are still a big problem

Bradley Beal, who’s been more of a facilitator since John Wall has been out, led the team with three turnovers but two of which were of the ‘turnovers to touchdowns’ variety. Beal has a tendency to make lackadaisical passes and more often than not, they lead to easy baskets on the other end like they did tonight.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, many of their turnovers are of the live-ball variety evidenced tonight as Miami scored 18 points off 15 Washington turnovers. This wasn’t the sole reason they lost (defense was), but coughing the ball up 15 times sure didn’t help.

Tip Ins

  • Just move on to the next one.

Up Next: Washington takes on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Wizards vs. Heat final score: Washington escapes with 117-113 win over Miami

Bradley Beal scored 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting and Tomas Satoransky had a bounce-back game with 19 points and seven assists as the Wizards escaped with a 117-113 overtime victory against the Heat on Tuesday night.

Washington raced out to a 27-9 lead and looked like they might bury a tired Miami team playing on the second half of a back-to-back, but it wouldn’t be as simple for the rest of the game. The Heat’s bench, led by Dwayne Wade, tied the game back up at 39-39 early in the second quarter and it was a tight affair the rest of the way.

Bradley Beal, who’s shouldered the load since Wall has been out, scored the Wizards’ last seven points in regulation, but also had two costly turnovers in the final four minutes and missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have won the game.

Washington took a four-point lead with 22 seconds left in overtime, but nearly gave it away with some sloppy execution on both ends. First, Kelly Oubre fouled Dwyane Wade on a 3-point attempt which allowed the Heat to cut it to a one-point game. Then, after the refs missed a five-second call on the Wizards’ inbound pass, Satoransky split a pair of free throws to put the Wizards up 2 with 10 seconds left. Dwayne Wade posted on up Satoransky and got a clean look in the paint, but was unable to bury the floater in the lane to tie the game.

It wasn’t pretty, but Washington snuck out with just their second overtime win of the season and snapped their three-game losing streak.

Takeaways

Late game execution (on both ends) remains a huge problem

Washington was inept on both ends of the floor down the stretch in both the fourth quarter and overtime periods.

Markieff Morris and Tomas Satoransky both missed free throws in the final minute of play in regulation which kept Miami’s hopes alive. Then, with the game tied at 105 and just seconds to play, Bradley Beal pounded the ball into the floor and settled for a step-back jumper at the buzzer that fell way short.

Washington also made some defensive blunders that complicated things late in regulation. With under a 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Markieff Morris tried to close hard on Dwyane Wade at the 3-point line, which let Wade build up a full head of steam and power through Beal to get the and-one opportunity at the rim that tied the game.

Washington’s execution on both ends of the floor down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime periods was substandard and they’re lucky to sneak away with the victory.

The Minute(s) Man with another All-Star performance

It was looking like Bradley Beal might get an easy night, but Washington’s late struggles led to Beal playing over 40 minutes for the second game in a row.

He was outstanding in this game, scoring a game-high 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting to go along with seven assists. He was on fire from everywhere, especially from three-point range where he connected on his first five attempts from deep and ended the night 6-of-7 from distance.

Markieff Morris keeps humming along

Morris, the unsung hero of the Wizards’ success during this stretch without John Wall had another nice game tonight with 16 points (10 in the first half) and 13 rebounds.

But more importantly, Keef was very active this evening on the defensive glass as he was grabbing all loose balls in sight and jumping to tip balls away from Miami players when he wasn’t in position to grab the rebound.

He was also outstanding when moving without the basketball tonight. On a run near the end of the second quarter where the Wizards were looking to build out their lead again, Morris found Beal who gave the ball right back to Morris on a picture-perfect give-and-go for an easy dunk.

Morris’ midrange jumper was falling tonight as well and he was getting wide-open looks making it that much easier for him to connect. Whether it’s Morris and Sato, Morris and Beal, or really, any of the Washington guards; Morris’ bread and butter over the past few weeks has been slipping the screen for a jumper or rolling hard to the baseline on a pick-and-roll resulting in wide open jumpers in the midrange.

No shot was bigger tonight than when Beal found Morris in the corner for three with just 1:06 to play and he buried it to put the Wizards up by four.

Game Notes

  • Ramon Sessions got some run tonight in his second go-round with the Wizards and made the most of it with six points including going 4-4 from the charity stripe. At the same time, he was a -17 in under 13 minutes against Miami’s deep bench.
  • Otto Porter (12 points) left the game midway through the fourth quarter after colliding with Dwayne Wade for a loose ball, bruising his hip. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Next up: The Wizards hit the road to face Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Heat at Wizards Final Score: Wiz commit late turnovers, lose to Heat, 106-103

Markieff Morris leads the way for the Wizards with 21 points while John Wall and Bradley Beal both scored 16 but the Wizards can’t overcome their miscues as they lose to the Heat, 106-103. The Heat were led by Hassan Whiteside who scored 30 points to go along with 12 rebounds as Miami’s playoff hopes are still alive with this win.

Miami started very slow tonight but the Wizards were unable to capitalize. The Heat started the game just 1-8 from the field to go along with five turnovers early but the Wizards only led by eight, 15-7. Miami flipped the switch with a 12-4 run as they were able to claw within one, 29-28 after one quarter.

The Heat regained the lead but were never able to stretch it out to more than five. After some sloppy play from both teams, there was an odd sequence where the Wizards missed an easy opportunity in transition but then picked off Miami’s pass leading to a John Wall three in the corner. We’d be all tied up at 52 at halftime.

Kelly Oubre, who didn’t score in the first half, came alive in the third quarter where he scored 11 points as Washington mounted their comeback run. However, whenever the Wizards got the game to within one, Miami had an answer.

Morris was the best player for Washington tonight and shined in the fourth quarter. Morris scored 12 points in the period including several clutch baskets and a three-pointer to tie the game at 100.

With just 20 seconds remaining and the Heat trailing 103-102, Eric Spoelstra drew up a play for a James Johnson isolation as he finished over Morris to give the Heat a 104-103 lead.

The Wizards threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds pass and were forced to foul.

Washington had one last chance to tie this game but Bradley Beal couldn’t shoot over the outstretched arms of Hassan Whiteside. Wizards fall, 106-103.

Winning the Southeastern Division is a big deal for the Wizards

Last night, the Washington Wizards beat the Los Angeles Lakers to clinch their first Southeastern Division title since 1979. On the surface, a division title doesn’t look like a big deal as it no longer guarantees home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Hell, it doesn’t even guarantee a playoff birth.

For the Wizards however, this is a monumental achievement.

As us Wizards faithful know, this team has been stuck on the treadmill of mediocrity for the last 35+ years and is on full display at the Verizon Center. It is one of the few arenas where they hang jerseys of players who spent minimal time in Washington and banners for merely making the playoffs. This franchise has gone through several dark periods and now has something to hang their hat on which is more impressive than a star who played just one year with the team or making an appearance in the postseason.

It isn’t winning the division title that’s important, as it doesn’t provide any postseason advantages, but it gives this small yet diehard franchise something to cheer about. For the first time in a long time, the Wizards have a legitimate shot at making and winning the Eastern Conference and have an outside shot at a finals appearance and potentially a championship.

During the days when Gilbert Arenas was the star of the show, it always felt like the team was playing with house money. If they made the playoffs then great but if not, it’s just the ‘same ol’ Wizards’ that we’re used to. Unfortunately during that era, Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal joined forces in Miami, a Southeastern Division foe. So although the Wizards were fun and exciting during that time, they couldn’t get past the Heat during the regular season.

After the infamous ‘gun gate’, the Wizards began digging themselves out of that dark hole. But they had another problem. The big three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade joined forces in Miami. So long to winning the division with that core three intact.

But things are different now. Yes, the Southeastern Conference is very weak compared to years past but there’s one thing we cannot overlook. For once, the roster orchestrated by the front office has a chance to be cemented into this franchise’s history and the byproduct just so happens to be a Southeastern Division title.

The Heat burn the Wizards from three-point range, win 114-111.

After an impressive performance against the Knicks on Thursday night, the Wizards turned in an equally unimpressive against the Heat as they lose 114-111 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 34 points a piece, the first time since 2014 that two Wizards players scored 30+ points in the same game but it was all for naught.

The Heat, a team known for their offensive struggles, came out shooting hot to begin this game and it continued throughout, as they’d shoot 51 percent from the field including 13 three-pointers.

The Wizards were down by 17 at one point in the fourth quarter but hit a slew of shots in garbage time to make things look closer than they really were. The Wizards are now 1-2 in during this “easier” stretch of games.

Where’s the defense?

The Heat are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA averaging just 94.5 points per game. Tonight, they scored 114. Defense was the last thing on the Wizards minds tonight. The Heat had open looks all night, especially from three-point range where they shot an impressive 48 percent (13-27). The Wizards were terrible on their closeouts and often just got lost on that end of the court, in turn, leaving their man wide open and the Heat made them pay.

Morris injury hurts

Markieff Morris rolled his ankle in the second quarter and never returned. That hurt as the Wizards were forced to shuffle their lineups resulting in Jason Smith getting his minutes. For the rest of the game, the Wizards lacked a physical presence on the defensive end as well as someone to get tough buckets in the paint. Hopefully it isn’t too bad as the Wizards can ill afford to get hit by the injury bug right now.

The Wizards need contributions from more players

Only three Wizards scored in double figures tonight. Wall and Beal with 34 a piece while Gortat had 10. The Wizards need more players to step in and score as they were still unable to win a game when Wall and Beal combined for 68 points. After a strong first quarter, Otto Porter disappeared and didn’t score the rest of the game. Satoransky was the high scorer off the bench with eight points including some nice cuts and back downs over smaller defenders.

Things were only good for one night. It’s now time to start questioning where this team’s head is at, again.

10 Predictions for the 2016-2017 NBA Season

The NBA season is right around the corner. Some things are a sure lock yet others remain a complete unknown. Without further ado, let’s go over 10 predictions (I hopefully don’t get too wrong) for this NBA season.

1.  The Warriors and Cavaliers will meet in the finals for a third straight year – Please name one team that has a shot of taking either of these two down. Yeah… that’s what I thought.

2.  The Warriors will win 70+ games – When the over/under odds came out in Vegas and Golden State’s win total was set at 66.5, I did a double take. This team won 73 games last year and they ADDED Kevin Durant. Anytime the Warriors lose this season it will be a major upset and will be all over ESPN and the other sports networks. Barring a major injury, I don’t think 70 wins will be a problem for this team.

3.  The Cavaliers will coast to 60+ wins – Another surprisingly low over/under was Cleveland’s as their win total was set at 56.5. The thing about Cleveland is, even though they won the championship, all of the focus will still be on Golden State this year. With a watered down Eastern Conference that will be worse than it was last year, I don’t think LeBron James and the Cavs will have any troubles eclipsing the 60-win mark. The only way they don’t get to 60 wins is if LeBron James frequently sits out games for rest.

4.  The Houston Rockets will average 112 points per gameThe Rockets averaged 106.5 points per game last year; good enough for the 8-seed out west. I don’t forsee any scoring setbacks now that Mike D’Antoni is head coach of the Rockets. D’Antoni is an offensive minded coach and will be using James Harden at the point guard position this season. Not only will this team score a ton, they won’t be playing any defense as that’s not really D’Antoni’s M.O. Since they won’t be too worried on the defensive end, they’ll be forced to put up gaudy offensive numbers just to stay competitive in games.

5.  The Heat and the Hawks will miss the playoffs – The Heat and the Hawks finished third and fourth in the Eastern Conference last year. The Heat lost the face of the franchise in Dwyane Wade and also lost Chris Bosh due to medical complications. The Hawks, on the other hand, lost Jeff Teague and Al Horford to the Pacers and Celtics respectively in free agency. Both of these teams lost two of their top players and signed average to slightly above-average players to bandage the wounds. Expect both teams to take a major step backward and miss the playoffs.

6.  The Knicks will make the playoffs – I went back and forth on this one. I don’t think Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are able to stay healthy for an entire season but the thing is, the Eastern Conference isn’t going to be as good as it was last year. If Carmelo Anthony can play in 70+ games and Kristaps Porzingis continues to develop as scheduled, that should be enough for the Knicks to win about 40 games and get into the playoffs.

7.  Joel Embiid will win Rookie of the Year – Too bad for all of the guys who got drafted this season as Joel Embiid is the initial favorite to win rookie of the year. He’s on a bad team so he’ll get plenty of playing time. He’ll have free reign as the 76ers will be losing most games. Oh, and let’s not forget, he’s talented as hell. The only thing holding the big man back is injuries. I really hope Embiid can stay healthy because he has the potential to be a special player .

(Vine by cjzero)

8. John Wall will be a top-5 MVP Candidate – Outside of Damian Lillard, John Wall might be the most underrated player in the NBA. Wall averaged 19.9 points and 10.2 assists last season coming up just .1 point shy of becoming the eleventh player in NBA history to average 20 points and 10 assists for a season. He was the only constant for a Wizards team that likely would have only won 25-30 games last season without him. I expect Wall to put up similar numbers this year and because the Wizards should have a better record than last season (41-41), that should get him more recognition and into the top-5 in MVP voting.

9. The Oklahoma City Thunder will barely make the playoffs – The Rockets, Jazz, Timberwolves, and Trail Blazers all got better during the offseason. The Oklahoma City Thunder took a step back as they lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors. Russell Westbrook will be a man on a mission and will likely put up monster numbers every single night. The issue is, When Kevin Durant went down during the 2014-2015 season, Westbrook put up monster numbers and the team still missed the playoffs. The talent around Westbrook is solid but Durant leaving will leave a bigger dent than people wish to believe. As a result, the Thunder will have to sneak into the playoffs with either the seventh or eighth seed. A Warriors-Thunder first round matchup would be a pretty nice start to the playoffs, no?

10.  Giannis Antetokounmpo will win Most Improved Player – The Greek Freak is entering the fourth year of his NBA career. He’s increased his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers every season he’s been in the league. Now that he’ll be playing point guard in Jason Kidd’s offense, this is the year the Greek Freak catapults himself onto the scene, maybe even making an All-Star appearance. He’s got the tools to be a Kevin Durant-type player, and this is the year he puts it together.

Bonus: The Warriors will win the championship – They’re pissed about blowing a 3-1 lead in the finals last year. On top of that, there’s no team out west who’ll test them prior to the finals.