On Saturday night in South Beach, the Washington Wizards beat a LeBron James/Chris Bosh/Dwyane Wade-less Miami Heat team, 86-84. The Wizards improved to 17-46 on the season without Trevor Booker, Roger Mason Jr., Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, as Ted Leonsis might remind you (playing without Blatche… very funny, Ted). Showing signs and giving hope that this current set of players is more worthy of playing together as a team going into next season, the Wizards now hold the second-worst record in the NBA after the seven-win Charlotte Bobcats and before the 20-win Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets. With three games left, beating the Heat also gives Washington their first three-game win streak of the season. The Wizards won three in a row once late last season over the Cavaliers, Bobcats and Pistons. Prior to that, a streak of three wins or longer hadn’t been accomplished since victories over the Heat, Bulls and Pistons in April 2008. Below is the reaction to that rare third win.
With nine assists and zero turnovers in the fourth quarter (13 and five on the night), how could I not give the MVP to John Wall (especially after I spoke bad about his passing on Twitter)? Also, credit the strength of Nene’s hands and his ability to finish with agility; four of Wall’s assists in the final period were off pick-and-roll action to the Brazilian, including the game-winning layup with 0.5 seconds left. But, ultimately it was John’s blazing bursts of speed that Mario Chalmers could not touch which gave the Wizards better chances, and the win. Wall still has major lessons to learn about creating and seeing passing lanes, and his jump shot continued to look bad (0-for-5 outside the paint; 13 points on 6-for-11 FGs), but he was active on defense (four steals) and put his body on the line to draw a key charge against Udonis Haslem late in the game. Wall had what it took to win on this night.