Wizards 114, Heat 97

Miami Heat loses to Washington Wizards, drops third in a row

Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat puts up a shot against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center on January 15, 2014 in Washington.
Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat puts up a shot against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center on January 15, 2014 in Washington.
Rob Carr / Getty Images
WEB VOTE What do you think is the main reason for the Heat’s three-game losing streak?


It felt like the Joel Anthony Memorial Protest Game.

A few hours after the Heat traded Anthony, the well-liked but little-used reserve center, to the rival Boston Celtics, the defending back-to-back champions found themselves behind by 30 points in the first half to Washington Wizards. The Heat never recovered and lost 114-97 in a game that spoiled the season debut of reserve center Greg Oden.

“It was surprising for all of us,” LeBron James of Anthony’s trade. “No one saw it coming. We read it on the Internet. We didn’t see it coming. It was tough for all of us.”

Said Pat Riley before the game: “He has been here for seven years and this is very, very, very, very, very, very hard to do this."

And the loss that followed the trade was hard to watch.

It marked the first three-game losing streak for Miami in two years and ended a 22-game winning streak against teams in the Southeast Division. Miami (27-11) has now lost eight games this season to teams with losing records. Golden State and Indiana are the only teams with winning records with victories against the Heat.

The excuse after back-to-back losses to the Knicks and Nets was that the team needed some rest, but the Heat looked just as sluggish and disinterested after four straight off days and a trip to the White House. James, who lost his voice during the game, was highly critical of the team afterward.

The Heat was outscored 43-18 in the first quarter, gave up 69 points in the first half and allowed the Wizards 28 fast-break points overall. Washington’s largest lead was 34 points.

“For us to win we have to defend and there’s no way we can give up 70 points in the first half, 43 points in the first quarter on 77 percent shooting, it just can’t happen,” James said. “And it’s not physical. It’s more mental than anything. Whether it’s mental fatigue, or lack of, not confidence, but lack of focus and it’s all trickling down to our play on the floor. We’ve got to figure this out, obviously. It’s a good test for us. We love adversity more than anything, and we’re definitely at that point. And my damn voice is gone and I got to try to find it, too.”

James finished with 25 points in 41 minutes and was 8 of 18 from the field. He was 9 of 10 from the free-throw line to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists.

From the beginning, it was clear the Heat had no interest in playing defense. The Wizards (18-19) scored 16 fast-break points in the first 12 minutes of the game.

“They were at a different speed,” James said. “They were playing at like 15 and we were playing at like seven. I don’t even want to give us that much credit. We were playing at like a five. … They pretty much got what they wanted, and [coach Erik Spoelstra] had to call two timeouts because we didn’t have too much energy as a collective group and the connections defensively just aren’t there right now.”

The Heat played so poorly early in the game that Spoelstra decided to insert Oden because, at that point, the Heat needed a spark from somewhere.

“I had no idea he was playing,” James said of Oden.

With the Heat trailing 56-26, Oden was substituted into a regular-season NBA game for the first time in four years with 6:03 left in the first half. It has been a long road back from injury for the Portland Trail Blazers’ former No. 1 overall pick. Oden still has plenty of work ahead of him, but his contributions offered some promising signs.

Similar to his preseason appearance, Oden scored his first field goal on a dunk. Oden played about five minutes in the second quarter and then started the second half. He finished with six points and two rebounds in nine minutes.

James joked with Oden after his first dunk.

“I said, ‘How is this possible that every time you continue to sit out for long periods of time when you decide to come back you keep getting a dunk on your first attempt,” James said. “It happened in New Orleans in the preseason and it happened tonight, too, and that’s pretty cool. I’m happy for him.”

Read more Miami Heat stories from the Miami Herald

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, then-Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers' 117-109 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver. Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. Ferry apologized Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources” about Deng.

    Miami Heat

    More comments besmirching new Miami Heat forward Luol Deng

    Days after it was revealed that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racially charged comments about new Heat forward Luol Deng before Deng became a free agent this summer, additional comments made by Ferry about Deng came to light Thursday.

FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2011, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owners Michael Gearon Jr., left, and Bruce Levenson talk prior to the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. The team did not provide any details of the discipline.

    Hawks discipline GM Ferry for racist comments

    The Atlanta Hawks are sticking with general manager Danny Ferry even though the team's new majority owner wants him fired for racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

Shaquille O'Neal stopped by Doral City Hall Wednesday to say hello to the city council before sitting down with the police department. O’neal applied to be a reserve officer and is undergoing a background check.


    Shaq wants to attack crime in Doral

    Former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal applied to be a reserve police officer for the city of Doral on Wednesday.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category