The Miami Heat brought a season-high three-game losing streak into Monday night as they hosted the streaking Washington Wizards. The game was knotted after three quarters, but the Heat clamped down in the fourth as is their wont and claimed the 99-90 win.
LeBron James led all scorers with 23 points alongside eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals. For the second game in a row, he did not attempt a free-throw, something that had only happened once in his career when he was still a rookie, per Basketball Reference. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh picked up the slack with 22 points each.
Bradley Beal and Martell Webster had their three-pointers falling, and they led Washington with 18 and 17 points respectively. Marcin Gortat set a career-high in rebounds with 18 and added 14 points. Drew Gooden brought his lunch pail to the paint and worked his way to 15 points in 17 minutes. John Wall finished with seven points, eight assists and seven of the Wizards' 19 turnovers.
The Wizards came in having won eight of the last nine games, and they had won the last meeting against Miami on Jan. 15 by a 114-97 score. A strong third quarter put them in position to stun the Heat at home, but Bosh and Wade were too much to handle down the stretch.
Washington's 50-33 advantage on the boards was muted by the 22-12 deficit they created in points off turnovers.
The Heat move just one game behind the Indiana Pacers who have lost four straight; they also have two games in hand on Indy. Miami brings in the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
The Wizards have Brooklyn nipping at their heels for the fifth seed, and they're two games behind the Chicago Bulls. Washington gets a day off before facing the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. A tough back-to-back comes after that in Orlando and at home against the Nets on Friday and Saturday.
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