Heat could be remedy for Wizards' malaise

Heat could be remedy for Wizards' malaise
October 13, 2013, 3:30 pm
Share This Post
(Steve Mitchell/ USA Today Sports)

The Miami Heat are coming to town Tuesday, which means it should be another loss for the Wizards in the preseason.

Maybe not. The game is at Verizon Center, where the Wizards tend to play better vs. elite competition (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).

They beat the eventual NBA champion Heat here Dec. 4 for just their second win of the 2012-13 season. They also won home games vs. playoff teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. 

They lost the preseason opener there last week to the Nets despite using their starters deep into the fourth quarter against third-string players, but if the Wizards are finally going to show progress this should be the game.

Offensively, the starters haven't hit their stride as a unit. Nene had a solid showing in the opener but was a non-factor in Saturday's 83-81 loss to the Bulls in Rio de Janeiro. It was Bradley Beal and Martell Webster who provided some sparks. 

The Wizards have shot 36.5%  in the first two games (62-for-170). The starting lineup of John Wall, Beal, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely and Nene is slightly worse at 34.8% (30-for-86).

Coach Randy Wittman had focused more on defense in training camp. Beal was the best player on the floor among the starters Saturday, but doesn't believe that lack of emphasis on offense will be responsible for any drop-off in efficiency.

"We always got our sets. Sometimes we went away from our sets, away from what's working," Beal said before the Wizards departed for Rio. "if the bigs are scoring, give them the ball. if a guard is hot, give him the ball. Just staying in the flow. We feed off our defense. That's our goal."

The Nets made 39 of 80 shots, a shade under 50%. The Bulls made 31 of 72 for 43%.