There, Wizards guard John Wall and several former Heat players played five-on-five. According to Wall, it was the first time he had gotten such a run during his year-long rehabilitation.
Wall's morning game was held behind closed doors, but the fact that it went off without a hitch provides hope for the Wizards' future. The loss later that night offered the team some additional promise in the present.
"We played our hearts out," Coach Scott Brooks said.
Without Wall alongside him in the backcourt, Beal has carried the Wizards (14-29) through the rough patches of the 2019-20 season. He continued his crusade against the Heat with 38 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He found help in Davis Bertans, who scored 24 points in his reserve role and played on the Wizards' closing lineup.
Ultimately, Miami all-star Jimmy Butler — who had 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds — benefited from more help, and the Heat's depth and range proved to be too much. Rookie Tyler Herro hit 7 of 9 three-pointers, including a corner three in overtime, and finished with a team-best 25 points. Goran Dragic provided another 22 points and 10 assists off the bench for Miami (31-13).
"We know they play extremely well at home, and the last time we played we smacked them," Beal said. "We knew what tonight was going to be. We knew that they were going to come out aggressive and play their best ball."
Bertans connected on 4 of 12 from beyond the arc and the Wizards' bench contributed 60 points, but it took Washington a half to find its footing.
In the first half, Beal scored 13 of the starters' 18 points, and Washington dug a 21-point hole with that group underperforming. In the third quarter, however, the first unit came to life and turned what could have been a blowout into a taut contest. With 5:14 left in the quarter, Beal gave the Wizards a 76-75 lead when he took a pass from Isaiah Thomas and thundered into the paint for the one-handed slam.
Heat center Kelly Olynyk defended the rim unsuccessfully, and Beal let it be known to the fans inside American Airlines Arena that he had dunked on their big man by repeatedly tapping the top of his own head.
In the closing seconds of regulation, Beal squared up another Miami center, Bam Adebayo, with a chance to hit the game-winning shot. Adebayo's length and defensive pressure forced Beal into a series of moves and countermoves, and his long jumper ultimately came after the buzzer.
"I felt like we were going to get a shot once I saw Bam on Brad," Brooks said, explaining why he did not call a timeout to set up a play in the closing seconds. "If Butler was on him, I would've probably called a timeout rather than play for it so we could get Brad a better look. We gave ourselves a chance to win."
That chance expired in overtime. Butler repeatedly trotted to the free throw line and made 7 of 8, while Beal and the Wizards felt they did not get the same calls.
"It's kind of sad that we get disrespected, especially myself, get disrespected the way I do," said Beal, who attempted four free throws compared to Butler's 18. "I attack the basket, and we can look at my last three drives and I got fouled on all three of them. But it is what it is. We continue to push each other, continue to attack until the whistle is blown."
Shortly after Butler's first free throws of overtime, Herro's clutch three-pointer put the Heat in command with a 123-118 lead. Despite Beal pouring in seven more points, the Wizards' comeback fell short.
The more important comeback for the Wizards is that of Wall — and Wednesday may have marked a major step in the guard's return from an Achilles' injury.
As the healthy Wizards worked through a morning shoot-around inside the arena, Wall laced up for his game inside the JW Marriott Marquis hotel gymnasium. In recent runs against Washington coaches and staffers, Wall has dunked, made deep jumpers and even displayed his breakneck speed in transition. Unlike in those games, Wall faced stiffer competition in Miami while going up against former NBA players Amar'e Stoudemire, Michael Beasley and Jeremy Tyler.
Wall indicated he was pleased with his performances but is still not expected to return to the active roster this season.
Also on Wednesday, Brooks revealed that rookie Rui Hachimura has been cleared for practice and second-year center Moritz Wagner, who recently saw a specialist in New York for a checkup on his left ankle, has progressed to participating in noncontact drills.
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