By Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 23, 2010; D01
Call it a hunch, foresight or simply dutiful scouting, but Washington Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said before Friday night's game against Miami that the Heat would play with a heightened sense of purpose after losing badly two nights earlier.
It didn't take long for Miami to make good on that declaration in a 112-88 victory before an announced sellout crowd of 20,173 at Verizon Center.
In their first game to begin the second half of the season, the Wizards (14-28) were doomed from the start, falling behind by 17 points at the end of the first quarter. It was Washington's largest deficit this season after the opening 12 minutes, and although the Wizards tried to make a game of it in the second half, their early troubles were too much to overcome.
"It's what I expected. I don't know if our players expected it," Saunders said of the Heat's first-quarter intensity. "We tried to relay that to them. [The Heat] came out with great energy. We had no juice. . . . They were aggressive from the beginning, and they pretty much mauled us."
The Wizards allowed Miami to shoot 57 percent, including 13 of 22 from three-point range.
Washington lost for the third time to Miami (22-20) in the finale of its four-game regular season series. The Wizards' only win came on Nov. 27 in Miami, 94-84, when they limited starting all-star guard Dwyane Wade to 18 points.
Wade almost had that by halftime on Friday and finished with a game-high 32 points on 12-for-19 shooting. He added 10 assists and made 4 of 7 attempts from three-point range after going 0 for 2 from that distance and missing 10 of 16 shots overall in a 104-65 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. That was the Heat's most lopsided defeat of the season.
Reserve forward Andray Blatche scored a team-high 19 points with a game-high 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who lost their second straight and for the sixth time in eight games. This loss, however, bore little resemblance to Washington's spirited rally that fell short against Dallas on Wednesday, when Caron Butler's shot with 1.9 seconds to play was blocked.
Antawn Jamison scored just seven points and missed 8 of 10 shots against the Mavericks, and his struggles continued against Miami. Bidding to be a coaches' selection for the all-star game, Jamison scored eight points and missed 10 of 14 shots, including an air ball on his second field goal attempt.
Jamison was 1 for 4 early in the first quarter until he collected an inbounds pass from Butler and scored from in close to trim the deficit to 14-13, but from there Miami gained all the separation it needed with an 18-2 run to close the first quarter.
"We just didn't bring it tonight," said Randy Foye, who scored 14 points and has played admirably filling in for indefinitely suspended guard Gilbert Arenas. "Their effort was much higher than ours, beat us to every loose ball, made big shots when they needed them."
The deluge began with Quentin Richardson's three-pointer with 4 minutes 44 seconds to play. Wade followed with a windmill dunk that drew gasps from the crowd, and his ensuing three-pointer gave Miami a 22-13 advantage.
Butler made a turnaround jumper from eight feet to pull Washington within seven, but Rafer Alston sank a three-pointer, and Wade cut into the lane, secured a pass from Alston and scored left-handed off the backboard for a 27-15 lead with 1:51 to go.
The Wizards called a timeout to try to steady themselves, but it didn't work. The Heat instead got a seven-foot hook shot from reserve center Joel Anthony and Wade's second three-pointer of the quarter with 5.8 seconds to play, and Miami led 32-15.
Not much changed in the second quarter either, when Miami twice built 22-point leads. The first came at 39-17 after Dorell Wright made a three-pointer and the next when Mario Chalmers also made a three-point field goal for a 44-22 advantage.
The Wizards managed to whittle the deficit to 61-51 in the second quarter after Butler made both ends of a one-and-one, but the Heat countered with the next seven points. The last five came courtesy of Wade on an 18-foot jumper and a three-pointer from 26 feet.
"They came out aggressive, knocked us in the mouth, and we just stood there and took it," Jamison said.