Wizards search for upside in latest defeat

Wizards search for upside in latest defeat
November 4, 2013, 11:30 am
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Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade drives to the basket past Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal during the second half at American Airlines Arena.

(Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

MIAMI -- The first two losses had coach Randy Wittman about to burst a blood vessel. 

The Wizards (0-3) were sloppy in a road loss to the Detroit Pistons and blew a double-digit lead at home to the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Trailing by as many as 23 points to the Miami Heat, who have won the last two NBA championships, they were able to get it to single digits in the fourth quarter before succumbing 103-93. LeBron James led all scorers with 25 points, posting 14 in the first quarter that put the Wizards behind all game.

But unlike the 76ers who scored 74 points in the paint, the Heat's penetration was contained. They had 36. Most of the buckets from Chris Bosh, who started at center and had 24 points, came outside the paint. 

"LeBron hit three threes, one a step-back. I would rather have him taking that shot than taking us to the basket," Wittman said. "They made some shots. Sometimes you got to tip your hat to the other team. I don't think it was so much our defense. We got them to take perimeter shots and kept them out of the paint and they knocked them down. That's going to happen."

Maybe it had something to do with who the Wizards were playing. Last season, when they won just 29 games, they had a habit of playing the elite teams better than the lesser ones. 

"They kept battling, making a play, trying to stay in the game," Wittman said. "Our energy level was good. The concentration, the way we played, moving the ball, putting the ball on the floor, this is what we've got to do."

The Wizards won in rebounding 41-32. They were plus-nine on the offensive glass. They also had more second-chance points, 21-10. Fast-break points were almost even with the Heat having a 10-8 edge. Based on those positives, the Wizards shouldn't be winless. But they are.

"You never want to say a loss is good. I felt like this is because we improved. Improved on everything. We executed offensively," Wizards point guard John Wall said. "We played better defense. It's something we've got to install into our brains and do everyday no matter who we play.

"If we play a team who you don't think is good enough still got to be able to do it because every team is capable of winning. You look at the Sixers. They've started off 3-0."