The low point wasn’t the horrific lack of effort on defense.
It wasn’t all those missed free throws in the first half.
And it wasn’t the putrid three-point shooting either.
No, the absolute bottom of competitive spirit and honor for the Heat during its 107-86 loss to the Washington Wizards came in the third quarter when Chris Bosh shot an airball, which fell into the hands of guard Mario Chalmers.
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Officially, Chalmers was credited with a rebound and a layup, but that’s not what Bosh had on his mind as he peddled backward. Bosh motioned to the Verizon Center’s official scorekeeper to count the airball as an assist.
That scene pretty much summed up night. The Heat (9-8) went 2 of 22 from three-point range, 18 of 30 from the free-throw line and had just 12 assists. In other words, it didn’t seem like they really cared. The Heat’s starters had four assists and Bosh had three of them, just not that gifted airball to Chalmers.
“We ran no sets,” said Bosh, who finished with 21 points and eight rebounds. “It just continued to be random basketball.”
Given the complete lack of focus evident from the beginning of the game — the Heat started 3 of 10 from the free-throw line — Miami found itself down by 15 points at halftime despite shooting 60 percent from the field.
“To give yourself a chance to win against a quality opponent, to give yourself a chance on the road, you have to have a grittiness and a disposition,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was much different than our disposition in New York.”
The Heat defeated the Knicks on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden to begin this road back-to-back. Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, but New York shot 35 percent as a team and 3 of 24 from three-point range.
“I hate that word … disposition,” Bosh said. “You know, it’s about just getting the job done. That’s it. I think we made mistakes, trying to add vocabulary and stuff. Just get the job done. Go out there and ‘D’ up, and we are failing to do that.
“Whether it’s the team, whether it’s one on one, they picked us apart.”
The Wizards (11-5) were 7 of 7 from three-point range at halftime, and finished 10 of 19 from distance overall. John Wall had 18 points and 13 assists, or one more than the Heat combined.
The Wizards’ lead stretched to 21 points early in the third quarter with a wide-open dunk in transition by forward Kris Humphries. Finished off by a running layup from Norris Cole, the Heat scored eight consecutive points and cut Washington’s lead to 72-59, but Humphries then put down another wide-open dunk, and the blowout was on.
Rasual Butler’s three-point play, highlighted by a dunk on Bosh, gave the Wizards a 100-78 lead with 4:54 left. Butler finished with 23 points, going 8 of 14 from the field and 3 of 5 from three-point range.
“Every time we tried they made shots,” said Wade, who had 20 points in less than 28 minutes. “Whether it was a defensive breakdown or they just continued to make shots … they earned a win. They wanted it, and they got it.”
It was another poor start for the Heat, which survived on Sunday in New York because the Knicks were just as bad to begin the game. The Wizards were sharp from the beginning, though, and took a 15-point lead two minutes into the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Heat began the game 0 of 8 from three-point range.
“This is a very good team when it comes to their offensive package,” Wade said. “The way they move you, and if you don’t have it tight when you play it like this, then you’re really going to give up a lot.”
It was the Heat’s sixth back-to-back this season, and it showed. The Heat was slow to react the entire game. Washington finished with 29 assists and outrebounded the Heat 42-33.
“There are no shortcuts to it and you can’t hide, so we have to continue to commit to it, and we understand what the issue is,” Spoelstra said.