With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem all sitting, the Miami Heat managed to top the Washington Wizards, 103-98, Wednesday night, giving them a franchise-best 62 wins on the season.
Ray Allen led the way with 23 points and the Heat used a 34-point fourth quarter to put the Wizards away. Miami hit 17 three-pointers—a night after Washington gave up 20 trifectas to the New York Knicks—and also outrebounded the Wizards 47-34.
A.J. Price led Washington with 23 of his own off the bench and tied a career high with five threes.
The Heat have now also clinched homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
Mario Chalmers started slow, but he closed strong in the second half.
Hitting on only one of his first seven shot attempts, Chalmers went 4-of-7 over the final 24 minutes. He finished with 13 points, eight assists and four rebounds in 30 minutes overall, going 3-of-7 from downtown, including a couple buzzer-beaters from long range.
'Rio did turn the ball over four times, but ended up with a plus-six in the plus/minus category. Not a fantastic night for the Heat point guard, but not a bad one, either.
You have to love what Mike Miller did on the night. Starting at shooting guard once again, Miller scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds, going 5-of-7 from the floor and draining four trifectas in six tries.
Miller did an outstanding job of getting open behind the arc, putting himself in great position for clean passes from teammates all game. It seemed like he was popping up open in the corner every other minute.
What detracts from Miller's overall grade is the fact that he committed six turnovers in 24 minutes of action. That is never a good thing.
While Rashard Lewis was not exactly efficient in shooting 5-of-14 from the floor, he hit some key shots for the Heat, including a big three to put Miami up eight with about three-and-a-half minutes to go.
Lewis compiled 17 points and hit on three of his eight three-point tries. He missed a few shots very badly—not even hitting the rim on a couple—but he also displayed why he was once such a reliable player in his prime a few times here and there against the Wizards.
Lewis tacked on five rebounds in his 37 minutes of play and finished with a plus-five.
Shane Battier was on target from deep. The veteran forward scored all 15 of his points off long-distance jumpers, connecting on five of his eight attempts from beyond the arc, and did not attempt a single two-point shot.
Battier also played some effective defense in 28 minutes, only fouling once and coming up with a steal. He also took what was essentially the game-clinching charge at around the two-minute mark of the fourth, stepping in front of Garrett Temple on a fast break.
Very nice game for Battier, who also recorded a plus-five.
Usually good for some productive contributions when he is on the floor, Joel Anthony hauled in six boards and blocked a couple of shots in 21 minutes.
Anthony also set some very nice screens to open up teammates offensively and has a decent sense of where to be on the floor.
That being said, Anthony did post a minus-five, so maybe his contributions weren't all that great. Still, for someone who rarely plays nowadays and is really out there just to contest shots, you can't be too hard on the guy.
With the Big Three out, Allen took matters into his own hands in the second half.
After going 4-of-10 over the first two quarters, Allen hit on four of his eight shot attempts over the final two, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter and coming through with a huge and-one followed by a three-pointer to deflate the Wizards late in the game.
Allen scored 23 points off 8-of-18 shooting, and the strange part is that he did that while only converting one of his seven three-point tries. He did a solid job of getting to the free-throw line (6-of-7) and hit some big ones down the stretch.
Allen got off to an ugly start, but he rectified that when the chips were down against the Wizards. Nice game for the grizzled vet.
Chris Andersen was huge in this one, scoring all eight of his points and attempts from the charity stripe and pulling down seven rebounds in 27 minutes. He also blocked three shots and was simply a nuisance on both ends of the floor. Birdman posted a game-high plus-10 to boot.
The same couldn't be said for the rest of Miami's reserves, however.
Norris Cole looked absolutely awful at times, turning the ball over three times in his first three minutes (four turnovers overall) and finishing with a minus-five. He did score eight points off 3-of-5 shooting, but this wasn't exactly a great night for the backup point guard.
James Jones quietly grabbed five boards in 18 minutes of action.
Thanks to Andersen's contributions, the Heat's pine earns a decent grade.