If the Wizards were hoping to have Trevor Ariza back from a strained left calf on Sunday, they would’ve been disappointed. Coach Randy Wittman said the 6-foot-7 swingman still wasn’t ready to return after practicing with the team the past week. The other injured Wizards – John Wall, Trevor Booker and A.J. Price – are also unavailable as they take on the defending champion Miami Heat for the third time.
If the Wizards had been hoping LeBron James would take the night off because of his sore right knee, they would’ve also be disappointed. James will play and have another chance to dominate the Wizards as he did on Dec. 15, when he outscored them, 16-10, in the third quarter and Miami snapped a three-game losing streak against Washington with a 102-72 thrashing at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“We haven’t had practice days this week, so he has been feeling a little better between games. If it gets to the point where it gets worse, then we’ll re-evaluate,” Heat Coach Erik Spoelsta said of James, who has scored at least 20 points in each of Miami’s 31 games this season.
Just like the previous meeting, the Heat is looking to bounce back after a home loss. “Whether they are coming off a win or a loss, they are one of the better teams in the league. This is always a game that you’re going to have to play at a high level to put yourself in it. In my mind, it doesn’t matter if they’re coming off a win or a loss. They are who they are.”
Unlike last time, the Wizards will have Nene in uniform. They are 3-0 when he plays against Miami.
Tipoff: 6 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)