Heat-Wizards Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 03, 2012
The Miami Heat may be the reigning NBA champions, but they've lost the last two meetings with the woeful Washington Wizards. This time, Miami's Big Three will get a chance to make an impact. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh look to capitalize on the team with the league's worst record and extend the Heat's season-high winning streak to seven games Tuesday night. Miami is 12-3 this season and has that same record in the past 15 games against Washington (1-13), taking seven of eight in the nation's capital. However, the Heat went 1-2 in last season's series, mostly due to scheduling. Those defeats came during the final four games of the regular season, when Miami was afforded the luxury of resting its stars ahead of the playoffs. Wade was the only member of the Big Three to face Washington on April 21, but he left after 2:40 with a dislocated left index finger as Miami went on to lose 86-84. The superstar guard joined James and Bosh as spectators for the season finale April 26, when the Wizards won 104-70 to hand the Heat their worst loss of 2011-12. Miami hasn't lost three in a row in this series since dropping all four matchups in 2007-08. It would seem the Heat aren't likely to approach that skid since they're averaging 104.2 points while shooting 49.9 percent from the field - 43.1 from 3-point range - during their win streak. Wade kept them rolling Saturday, scoring a season-high 34 points with seven assists while making 14 of 20 field goals in a 102-89 win over Brooklyn. Miami also turned in one of its best defensive efforts, getting a season-high 12 steals while holding the Nets to 30 second-half points - 11 in the fourth quarter. "When the ball goes in the basket for them, we gotta go down and put the ball in the basket ourselves; offense is the best defense," Wade said. "If we are able to score the ball and stop them from running back at us, and not turn the ball over, then we'll be able to set our defense and really be the good defensive team that we are." Another strong defensive performance appears likely Tuesday. The Heat have allowed an average of 91.5 points in the past 15 meetings, and the Wizards are last in the league with 89.4 points per game. Wade is averaging 30.7 points and 6.5 assists in his past six visits to the Verizon Center, James is averaging 30.0 points and 8.0 assists in his last six there and Bosh has averages of 27.3 points and 11.6 rebounds in his past eight at Washington. The Wizards are looking to bounce back from Friday's 108-87 loss at New York, two days after beating Portland 84-82 at home to end a season-opening 12-game slide. "We made it hard on ourselves," said guard Jordan Crawford, alluding to Washington's 17 turnovers and season-low 11 assists against the Knicks. "They did a good job of moving the ball and the ball kind of stuck in our hands. We didn't do a good job of moving it." Crawford continues to be one of the rare bright spots for Washington, averaging 18.3 points in his last three contests and leading the team with 13.1 per game. He scored a career-high 39 points in a 123-107 home loss to Miami on March 30, 2011.
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