Miami Heat’s comeback bid falls short in loss to Washington Wizards

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 15: Hassan Whiteside
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 15: Hassan Whiteside /

The Miami Heat have endured a bumpy road through the first month of the regular season, experiencing several highs and lows.

Facing off against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, the Miami Heat were in for one of their truest early-season tests.

Goran Dragic scored 21 points, while Dion Waiters recorded 19 and Hassan Whiteside tallied 14 points and 21 rebounds. However, Miami was unable to rally back in the fourth quarter, having dropped two in a row.

John Wall led Washington with 27 points and six assists, as Bradley Beal added 26 points and seven rebounds. The Wizards have now won four consecutive games. Markieff Morris knotched 15 points and Otto Porter recorded a double-double (12 points and 13 rebounds), as Washington remained in control throughout.

With just 12 players available on the night, the Heat found themselves down by as much as 13 on their home floor.

Despite that, Miami was able to push to an 80-73 lead early in the fourth period.

Spurred by a 12-1 run in the third quarter that trimmed their deficit to 62-61, the Heat evened the score at 64, following one of Waiters’ three 3-pointers. Miami headed to the fourth period up 74-71, having outscored the Wizards 25-10 during the third, a span in which Washington shot just 4-for-19 from the floor.

Up to that point, the Wizards were being fueled by a run in which they hit seven of nine 3-pointers, led by 16 first half points from Wall.

It was Tyler Johnson who kept Miami afloat during the early stages, recording 13 first half points, including hitting three of his first four attempts from behind-the-arc.

Although the Heat held a seven point fourth quarter lead, Washington closed the game on a 29-13 run, as they converted 17 Miami turnovers into 26 points. Standing at two games below .500 through 14 games, the Heat are a shell of the team we saw finish 30-11 last season.

Miami did however have another solid game from three-point range, going 13-for-30 from that distance. Three Heat players (Waiters, Dragic and Johnson) knocked down three 3-pointers while retaining a 13-9 edge in that category.

Early-season troubles continued to plague a Heat team that doesn’t appear to heave found its identity as of yet, and if these trends continue, their fortunes could alter drastically. Generally a well-coached defensive team, the Heat gave up 30 or more points in three of four quarters, although the Wizards shot just 41 percent as a team (the same as Miami). Definitely not something you typically see out of this team. Given the slower, more methodical pace of the Eastern Conference, one would think this was the exact situation head coach Erik Spoelstra and company would like to have been in.

As it stands, the Heat are 3-4 at AmericanAirlines Arena on the season, an environment fans in south Florida are accustomed to winning in.

With matchups against the likes of the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers looming, Miami is dealt a steep challenge as December approaches.

Next: Miami Heat rookie Bam Adebayo's recent disappearing act

The Heat (6-8) will head to Washington D.C. for the second of a two-game series between the two teams on Friday, November 17. Tip-off is at 7:30 PM ET.