Whiteside, Heat lead by 25, hold on to beat Wizards 91-88
WASHINGTON – The Miami Heat nearly wasted a terrific defensive effort against John Wall and the high-scoring Washington Wizards, allowing a 25-point lead to dwindle all the way down to one before holding on for a 91-88 victory Friday night.
Hassan Whiteside had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Heat, who limited the Wizards to 29 first-half points -- Washington's lowest output for a half in more than 2 1/2 years. Wall wound up with only eight points on 3-for-12 shooting. The All-Star point guard's first points of the night came with about 5 1/2 minutes left, on a 3-pointer that got Washington to 75-71.
Overall, the Wizards made 38.1 percent of their field-goal attempts. Still, the hosts got within 89-88 on a pair of free throws by Otto Porter Jr. James Johnson, who finished with 20 points, made one free throw with 6.5 seconds left. That left Washington with the ball down by two, but Bradley Beal missed a 17-foot pull-up jumper and Miami rebounded, then tacked on a free throw.
Beal led Washington with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wizards came in on a four-game winning streak, including a 102-93 victory their last time out, at Miami on Wednesday.
Washington entered Friday averaging 110.7 points, fourth-best in the 30-team NBA, but this one was different right from the get-go.
The Heat led 26-17 after the first quarter, when Washington made only 6 of 20 field-goal attempts, including 0 for 6 on 3-point tries. The high-gear, go-go attack steered by Wall was outscored 9-0 by Miami on fast breaks in that period.
Wall, Beal and Porter combined to shoot 0 for 8 in that quarter. None of the three managed to score a field goal until Porter converted a pass from Wall on a fast break halfway through the second quarter.
In contrast, that trio provided 65 points and 24 rebounds in Washington's victory at Miami the other night.
This time, the Heat kept pouring it on for a half, pulling out to a 50-25 edge -- their biggest -- when Goran Dragic stole the ball from Beal and fed Dion Waiters for an easy basket with 2 minutes left until the break.
Washington made only 12 of 42 shots -- 28.6 percent -- in the first half, including 0 for 13 on 3s.
The Heat have shown themselves to be capable of stifling defense. They limited the Utah Jazz to 25 in a half a week ago, and they held the Wizards to 41 -- their previous season low -- in the second half Wednesday.
Heat: Coach Erik Spoelstra showed a quick hook, pulling F Justise Winslow just a minute into the game after the man he was guarding, Markieff Morris, scored two quick baskets. Johnson entered. ... F Kelly Olynyk was greeted with jeers from many in the crowd of 17,551 when he entered the game in the first quarter. He was involved in a scuffle with Washington F Kelly Oubre Jr. during the playoffs last season, when Olynyk played for the Boston Celtics.
Wizards: Still have not defeated the same opponent in consecutive games in nearly four full years; the last time was Dec. 28-30, 2013, against the Detroit Pistons. ... After not playing at all Wednesday, F Mike Scott hit a buzzer-beating jumper to close the opening period Friday and finished with four points in 9 minutes.
Heat: Host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. Miami has won six in a row at home against Indiana, including 112-108 on Oct. 21.
Wizards: Open a three-game road trip at the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Washington won at Toronto 107-96 two weeks ago.
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