As one of the two teams on the South Florida court, the Wizards technically had a chance for triumph in the rematch with the Miami Heat. The pregame bullet points suggested otherwise. The one-sided results emphatically said no chance.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 19 points, but Washington never led, played without Nene and trailed by 33 in a 102-72 loss at Miami on Saturday night.
Cartier Martin's recent offensive surge continued with 18 points, but little else fell into the positive category after the Wizards (3-18) largest loss of the season and third straight overall.
Then again, the odds were stacked against them.
Start with obvious: Miami is really, really good. LeBron James had 23 points and 10 rebounds. Already trailing 50-36 at halftime, Washington fell back even further after being outscored 29-10 in the third quarter with James accounting for 16 of Miami's points.
Next on the strikes against list, revenge. Back on Dec. 5 at the Verizon Center, the Wizards stunned the defending NBA champions in a 105-101 thriller. In their first chance to restore the basketball world order, the Heat turned Washington's 21 turnovers into 30 points, held the visitors to 37.5 percent (27 of 72) from the floor while making just over half of its own shots.
Actually each member of Miami's starting five made at least half its field goal attempts and collectively shot 62.2 percent (28 of 45). Dwayne Wade scored 13 points, as did Udonis Haslem, who sank six of seven shots, while Chris Bosh added 12.
For the final straw, eliminate Nene from the lineup mix in a back-to-back situation. With the Wizards playing on consecutive nights and in their fourth game in five days, the team rested the Brazilian big man who is still ramping up his stamina after missing three months with a foot injury. Nene has yet to play more than 25 minutes in his last eight games since logging a hefty 29 in a double-overtime loss against Charlotte on Nov. 24.
Of course, Nene was not the only missing piece from the lineup that upset Miami. Trevor Ariza (calf strain) and A.J. Price (fractured hand) have since gone down with longer-term injuries. John Wall and Trevor Booker remained sidelined, though Wall could be moving closer to a return. The third-year point guard is expected to speak with the media following Monday's practice.
Beal picked up his scoring after tallying four points in Friday's loss against the Los Angeles Lakers and nailed two from beyond the arc, but he needed 18 shots against Miami for his 19 points. After making five 3-pointers against the Lakers, Martin drained 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Emeka Okafor finished with 10 rebounds and eight points.
Continuing to see minutes at point guard, Jordan Crawford had five points on 2 of 12 shooting and committed six turnovers.
After consecutive games without seeing the court, Jan Vesely scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in 16 minutes, his most extensive playing time since Nov. 19.
Entering the game, Washington's most lopsided loss came Nov. 26 against San Antonio, 118-92.
Washington's next contest comes at home on Tuesday facing Atlanta for the third time this season.