Wall, Beal lead Wizards past Heat
Something about the Miami Heat brings out the fire in the Wizards, and they were impressive for the first time in three preseason games Tuesday at Verizon Center.
It also resulted in their first victory, and Miami's first loss in four outings.
Bradley Beal led all scorers with 29 points for the Wizards, followed by Al Harrington with 14 and John Wall and Trevor Ariza 13.
The mere presence of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade raised the stakes as the game took on a regular-season atmosphere. James had a breakway reverse dunk and a threw down a thunderous slam on a lob from Chris Bosh in the second quarter on consecutive plays. The Heat edged ahead 43-38, and they then regained the lead on a 15-foot jumper and alley-oop dunk by Wade on a feed from James.
The Wizards still led 51-49 at the half because of Beal's three-pointer at the buzzer.
Wade and Shane Battier led the Heat with 14 points each. Bosh had 13 and James 10.
Turning point: The Wizards doubled the Heat in the third quarter, 32-16, behind 12 points from Beal. As a team, they made 13 of 20 shots (65 percent), including 4 of 8 three-pointers. And they did it against the Heat's first-team.
Best in show: Beal. He was aggressive and efficient with 17 points in 19 minutes of the first half. He attacked the rim and played well in tandem with Wall for the first time in the preseason. Two of his three-pointers were buzzer beaters to end the second and third quarters.
For the Heat, that's easy -- James. He was spectacular in the first half. He had 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting but his consecutive highlight-reel dunks electrified the crowd of 13,678.
Losing control: Wall opened the game with a turnover on the first play, ending with a game-high five. The Wizards finished with 21 which still is a major area of concern. But they had 26 assists.
Sizing up: For a team that lacked size in the low post without Nene (personal reasons) and Emeka Okafor (herniated disk), the Wizards still had six blocked shots.
Talking points: 1). Is Trevor Booker now the starting power forward? 2). Small-ball worked. The Wizards have something here and given their instability with low post players it'll be out of necessity, but could end up being a strength. 3). Where was the aggressiveness on the offensive end from Vesely, who only attempted one shot -- on a lob from Harrington for a dunk?
DNP: Surprisingly, Eric Maynor, Wall's backup was the only one who didn't get any playing time. In the previous game vs. the Chicago Bulls, Garrett Temple didn't play. Temple logged 15 minutes Tuesday. Free agents Josh Childress, Xavier Silas, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and D'or Fischer got on the court. Childress and Silas made three-pointers. It was the first action of the preseason for Silas and Fischer.
Up next: The Wizards likely will practice Wednesday and Thursday at Verizon Center and then play the New York Knicks at Baltimore Arena on Thursday (CSN, 7 p.m ET).
From the locker room: "Last year it would have probably been tough for us to get back in the game, but we held our heads (high), kept moving the ball and got better on defense as the game went on. For the first time this preseason, we had more assists than turnovers." -- Booker
"We were just careless with the ball. Those guys are very quick with their hands and we were careless with our passes." -- James
"I had three turnovers in the first quarter. That's the one thing I have to change, easy, simple turnovers. The main thing is I didn't hold my head down and get frustrated. I went and played defense and got a chance to keep my team into the game." -- Wall