WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards came to Miami last month and scored 114 points in a win over the Heat. That’s the most points Miami has allowed this season.
The Heat followed that uncharacteristic loss with a long film session, and it paid off in an impressive defensive performance against Washington on Sunday night.
Chris Bosh scored 23 points, Goran Dragic had 18 and the Heat allowed their fewest points this season in a 97-75 victory over the undermanned Wizards.
It was a season-low for points for Washington, which was held to seven points in the second quarter. The Wizards missed 20 of their 22 field goal attempts in the second.
Miami coach Erik Spolestra credited Hassan Whiteside, who scored just six points, but had 13 rebounds and six blocked shots, for both the team’s defensive turnaround and Sunday’s win.
"You have to do the things you don’t want to do to be successful in this league," Spoelstra said.
The Heat’s 25-7 second quarter propelled them to a 50-31 halftime lead.
Bosh hit three straight baskets early in the fourth quarter as Miami built its lead to 80-53.
Washington, which had just nine healthy players, shot just 34.1 per cent.
"It’s hard to judge your defence when your offence was as bad as it was," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
John Wall, who led Washington with 14, shot just 6 for 21.
"We just kind of made it tough on him, just tried to make him finish over us, just challenge him to come challenge me at the rim," Whiteside said.
The seven points allowed by the Heat in the second quarter was the second lowest in team history. Washington actually scored fewer in a game this season. On Nov. 25, they had just six in the fourth quarter at Charlotte.
"Sweet," Bosh exclaimed when he was told about the defence. "It’s good. We did a good job scrambling."
Midway through the second quarter, the Wizards’ Marcin Gortat, appeared to injure his right ankle. After hobbling to the bench, Gortat sat out a few moments before returning. Wittman was concerned when he saw Gortat fall. "I can’t say. It’s a family show, I’m sure," Wittman said.
Gortat, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds, wasn’t worried.
"I was just trying to get some camera time," Gortat said.
Miami has six players averaging double figures. It’s something new and welcome for Spoelstra. "That’s not necessarily like a Miami Heat team we’ve had. It’s different, and I like that," Spoelstra said.
EAST IS BEST?
Wittman isn’t surprised that 10 of the Eastern Conference’s teams are over .500. Just six of 15 teams in the West are better than .500. "If you’re around long enough you see everything. It comes full circle," Wittman said. "There was a time, believe it or not, when the East was better than the West."
Heat: F Josh McRoberts missed his 12th game with a bruised right knee. … Spoelstra said that rookie F Josh Richardson, who spent two games recently with the D-League’s Sioux Skyforce, may be given more time there when the Heat begins its six-game road trip on Friday.
Wizards: F Drew Gooden, who reinjured his strained right calf in his first game back on Friday after not playing since Nov. 17, was out. Wittman said Gooden’s injury wasn’t as serious as his first one. … Were also without G Bradley Beal (leg) C-F DeJuan Blair (knee), G Gary Neal (quad), and F Nene (calf).
Heat: host the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
Wizards: host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.