July 15, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 32 Review: Cold second quarter dooms Wiz against the Miami Heat

The Washington Wizards started off the new year with an easy victory over the Orlando Magic, who they have dominated lately. The same can be said for the Miami Heat, who the Wizards were looking to beat for the franchise record fifth straight time. Randy Wittman was again be extremely limited in his options off the bench thanks to injury. Awful offensive sets in the second quarter, coupled with shots simply not falling, put Washington in too big of a deficit to come back. The Wizards winning streak against the Miami Heat did not hit a record setting five games as Washington fell 97-75.

Chris Bosh got the Miami Heat off to a fast start with 10 first quarter points. An early 8-0 run put the Wizards in a 10-3 hole before John Wall responded with five straight points. Kelly Oubre Jr. provided good energy off the bench through his defense that helped Washington take a brief lead. Miami held the slight 25-24 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Back-to-back threes from Miami allowed them a 7-0 run to start the second quarter against the Washington bench. Tyler Johnson’s defense on John Wall was suffocating and when Marcin Gortat rolled his ankle after landing on Hassan Whiteside’s foot things went from bad to worse. Luckily the Polish Machine was able to return but that would not make much of a difference. After Washington cut the deficit to three points, Miami went on a 18-2 run and had the game in hand. A lot of that had to do with 2/22 shooting during the quarter which resulted in just seven points.

With a 50-31 deficit at halftime, Washington had to hope for an extended defensive stand or hot streak. Neither of those two happened as Miami kept pace with any Wizards bucket. Washington is not getting efficient scoring from any of their guards and wings right now. Aside from Marcin Gortat — the Wizards only true big at the moment — they shot a miserable 31.2 percent from the floor. Teams can hardly win when their best player has 50 percent more field goal attempts than points (i.e. John Wall 14 points on 21 FGA).

In Washington’s current space-and-pace offensive scheme, they are sacrificing rebounding for the sake of additional scoring opportunities from beyond the arc. If you have 25 missed 3-pointers compared to just four makes, then clearly the offensive production is not going to be there. Whiteside, who Gortat called “incredible,” was deterring Wall from driving and forcing him into a jump shooter. Hopefully Randy Wittman can sort out problems soon because it will be a while before the Wizards are completely healthy and they could be out of the hunt by then if they continue to struggle.

Washington will host the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers (22-9) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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