The Washington Wizards won the battle of backcourts on the road against the Miami Heat on Wednesday and will try to make it two in a row over their Southeast Division foes when they host the back half of the home-and-home set on Friday. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 53 points in Wednesday’s 102-93 triumph at Miami.
The victory improved the Wizards to 6-0 when holding an opponent under 100 points, and the team knows that a consistent effort on defense is the key to success. “That is our go to,” Beal told the Washington Post of holding teams under 100. “When we do that, it is proven. We have success keeping teams under 100 and getting wins. When we continue to have that defensive mindset, we are a really good team. We showed a lot of glimpses of it (Wednesday).” The Heat are trying to find consistency on both ends, and coach Erik Spoelstra would like to see his team improve its mental approach. “It’s neck up for us to be able to build this mental resiliency and be able to put our best game out there and sustain it for 48 minutes,” Spoelstra told reporters. “That doesn’t necessarily guarantee you anything, either. But we have these pockets during the course of games where we’re just simply inconsistent during those stretches.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Miami), NBCS Washington
ABOUT THE HEAT (6-8): One player who appears to be putting in consistent effort for Miami of late is center Hassan Whiteside, who is averaging 16.3 points and 15.8 rebounds over the last four games. Whiteside had his effort questioned and was benched in the second half of a loss at Golden State on Nov. 6, but has since averaged 30.5 minutes while avoiding foul trouble and playing solid defense in four contests. Whiteside could use some help up front from power forward James Johnson, who is 5-of-16 from the floor over the last three games while averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 25.3 minutes.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (9-5): Beal is struggling with his shooting stroke over the last two games, going 11-of-30 from the floor and 2-of-12 from beyond the arc, but is making up the difference by attacking the basket. The 24-year-old hit all three of his free-throw attempts in a win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday and then went straight at the Miami defense on Thursday, going to the line 14 times and knocking down 13 to improve his season percentage to 83.7 from the stripe. Washington outscored Miami by 13 points at the line on Wednesday by going 29-of-31 while the Heat were 16-of-19 from the stripe.
1. Heat PF Okaro White underwent surgery on Thursday to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot.
2. Wizards SF Otto Porter Jr. shot 54.5 percent or better from the floor in each of his last 10 games.
3. Miami won in both of its trips to Washington last season by a total of six points.
PREDICTION: Wizards 105, Heat 101