The Wizards entered Tuesday’s game against the defending champion Miami Heat with the highest scoring bench in the NBA, so it’s not all that surprising that their reserves outscored the starters once again.
As Washington sought to protect its lead against the Heat, the trio of Jordan Crawford, Kevin Seraphin and Martell Webster led the way through a tense second half and down the stretch with plenty of poise.
The trio combined for 51 points in the Wizards’ 105-101 win over Miami including 20 in the fourth quarter, shared the ball and found ways to shake off errant plays or missed shots to maintain their composure. The bench as a whole accounted for 64 points.
“Tonight we were taking action,” said Webster, who received a nice 26th birthday present with the upset win. “Rather than letting them hit us and us react, we were actually able to make them react a lot. Being able to swing the ball, attack on the close outs create jump shots for all our teammates and then spring back on defense and not letting them get any easy buckets.”
It was the best offensive game of the year for the Wizards. They set a new season highs for points scored in regulation (105), first quarter points (30), first half points (60), assists (31) and tied their best shooting percentage (48.1).
Coach Randy Wittman said that in addition to recording the statement win, he was happy to see the Wizards execute the offensive strategies and game plans they spent the past several days emphasizing in practice.
“We finally play like a team,” said Seraphin, who posted 16 points and also added 10 rebounds for the fourth time in the past six games. “Everybody don’t try to be the heroes tonight, we just play – if you’re not open, you pass the ball – like a good team should play. Like the Spurs play, like Miami play, like Celtics, everybody. We have to do that every night, every night.”
Of all the season-high marks the Wizards set against the Heat, recording 31 assists on 38 field goals is arguably the most impressive. Washington has struggled to share the ball well throughout its first 14 games, but as evidenced by the improvement Tuesday at Verizon Center it’s all just a matter of the players trusting each other.
“Just having confidence and trust in our teammates and faith in knowing that they’re going to make the right decisions when we dribble penetrate and kick out,” Webster said. “Tonight we find ourselves on the good side of making opportunities for each other.”