Miami Heat Take on Struggling Wiz in Washington


Tonight’s game between the Miami Heat (27-33) and Washington Wizards (34-27) features team that have struggled for consistency this season. But Miami has won two straight and is looking to keep their place in the Eastern Conference standings? Can Goran Dragic pave the way to victory against John Wall and the Wizards?

Start Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Location: Game will be played in Washington, D.C. at the Verizon Center
TV Info: Fox Sports
Radio: 104.3 The Ticket

It seems somewhat fitting that the these two teams should face each other at this crossroads of the regular season. An opening night win kicked off a season of hope as the Heat began seeking a new identity. The Wizards, title hopefuls, looked like the lesser team in that October 29 victory that feels so long ago.

Since then, things have regressed to the mean, albeit for Miami, injuries have destroyed any chance at stability as the team fights it way through this video game of a season, where a new challenge seemingly waits around every corner.

The Wizards looked like a contender for much of the year but have inexplicably fallen apart lately, losing 12 of their past 15 games. While they’ve faced some injury issues and made some trades that have yet to pay off, this team simply looks and sounds lost, as Bradley Beal revealed to reporters (via

"“We just have to figure it out. It’s up to us in here. (Coach Randy Wittman) can preach to us, but it’s us (as players) that have to stick together and just figure it out.”"

Scoring would seem to be the issue, where they’ve averaged just 94.8 points during that horrific 15-game stretch, including 87.3 PPG on just 39.5 percent shooting in their last four.

That won’t get any easier when they face Hassan Whiteside for the second time on Friday night.

Whiteside wasn’t a part of the team in October, nor was he the force he is now when these teams played last (a 105-103 Miami loss in December). But he’s certainly come on strong since then, capping a stellar season with a 18-point, 25-rebound performance on Wednesday against the Lakers. As the team’s Couper Morehead points out in this fantastic article, Whiteside’s season has been historically great.

Still, even with Hassan so surprisingly effective, the Heat will need to play at their best to pull out a victory in Washington. They’ve lost five of their last seven road games, giving up an average of 100.3 points. They’ll need Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng to step defensively, respectively guarding Beal and longtime nemesis Paul Pierce.

But the key matchup for Heat fans will be how Goran Dragic handles John Wall. Dragic isn’t known for his defense and Wall, who leads all NBA guards with 33 double-doubles, is a speedy nightmare. Miami finally can contend with Dragic at the point, and it should be a great battle.

This season has taken so many turns that tonight’s game is difficult to predict. The Heat are looking for consistency but the Wizards are desperate for a win. While Miami has won two straight, Washington just snapped a six-game losing streak.

Can the Heat find a way to keep building success as the playoffs loom right around the corner? Or will they regress once more?

Check back with All U Can Heat for a full recap, post-game grades and analysis.

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