Goran Dragić launched a 3-pointer off a bounce from Kelly Olynyk during the latter half of the third quarter. The veteran left handed guard held his shooting arm up in the air as he watched his sixth straight shot — all of which coming from downtown — fall to give his team a 14-point advantage.
This bucket continued a 9-0 run for the Miami Heat, whose strong second half powered them past the struggling Wizards, 128-124.
The Wizards converted 44 of 99 shots tonight and dropped a season-high 44 points in the first quarter. But the Heat were in control for the entire second half, holding Washington to a season-low 15 points in the third quarter.
About an hour before tip-off, Washington (2-8) announced it would be without Russell Westbrook (left quad soreness) and Bradley Beal (health and safety protocols), pushing Raul Neto and Jerome Robinson into the starting five against a loaded Heat (4-4) squad.
Fewer than two minutes into the game, it got worse. Thomas Bryant fell to the floor, grabbing his knee and writhing in pain. Bryant, who is averaging 15.9 points per game, was ruled out for the rest of the night with a left knee injury.
“We hope for the best. Don’t know as of right now,” head coach Scott Brooks said on his status, adding that he’ll have an MRI tomorrow. “One thing about TB: He’s a great kid that works hard, plays with passion, gives you everything he has.”
Despite the fact that Washington was missing its three best scorers, it posted 71 points in the first half — the most it has scored in one this year. But the stars’ defense was immediately missed. Kelly Olynyk, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro — who set a career-high with 31 points — and Goran Dragic were already in double figures as the Heat had poured 75 points onto the Wizards.
Robin Lopez replaced Bryant and scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Garrison Mathews and Deni Avdija set career-highs with 22 and 20, respectively. An 8-0 run in the second quarter sparked the Wizards’ first lead of the night.
“My job is to play hard,” Mathews said. “It’s as simple as that.”
But while Washington continued to score, Miami kept doing so in greater numbers. This two-point advantage was the only one the Wizards had tonight.
However, the Wizards continued to battle all 48 minutes. After trimming a 24-point deficit to 14, Washington went on a 9-0 run — on three straight 3-pointers from Avdjia — during the second-to-last minute of regulation.
Troy Brown Jr. laid in a shot at the buzzer to cap off a 38-point fourth quarter — the only one where Miami was outscored.
As the game ended, the team remained concerned about its injured teammate, who Brooks said is “definitely in pain.”
“I’m praying for him,” Mathews said.