Reporting Tim Kephart
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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – There’s bad, and then there’s the basketball the Washington Wizards have played this season. The Wiz came into Tuesday night’s game with the Heat with the worst record in the NBA while Miami had the best record.
But, the Heat did what they’ve done for most of the new season and played down to the level of their opponent; but this time, they couldn’t bail themselves out at the end.
Not too many people figured this outcome would happen, though, a message Wizards coach Randy Wittman delivered to his players before their worst-in-the-NBA team went out and beat the Heat 105-101 on Tuesday night behind Jordan Crawford’s 22 points — and despite James’ triple-double of 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
Perhaps inspired by the courtside presence of Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who exchanged a handshake with Cowboys fan James after the final buzzer, the Wizards doubled their victory total this season. The Wizards improved to 2-13, earning their second win in the past three games after starting a franchise-worst 0-12.
“I’m so happy for those guys,” said Wittman, who called this perhaps the most satisfying victory of his coaching career.
He said he told his team beforehand: “The only people that think you have a chance tonight are the people here in this room. … We need to have a statement game.”
And, Wittman continued, “I said, ‘I’ve seen it a number of times, guys.’ … (People say), ‘They ain’t got a chance to win this game.’ And that’s what people were saying. We all listen. Could hear it on the street and all that. These guys, it bothers them.”
The reigning NBA champion Heat’s six-game winning streak ended, and they fell to 12-4.
“You move on,” said Dwyane Wade, who scored 24 for Miami. “You learn from it, but you don’t become a good team by holding onto certain losses — or certain wins.”
The Wizards don’t defeat many teams, but they defeat the Heat: This made it three consecutive regular-season victories for Washington over Miami, including two last season in April.
“It’s a big momentum win for us, obviously. We’ve been struggling to put together four quarters,” Washington point guard Shaun Livingston said.
The Heat were the ones rushing shots on occasion and they made only 8 of 28 attempts on 3-pointers. The Wizards, surprisingly, were the ones being patient, making the extra pass, finding the teammate with an open look — and finishing with 31 assists on 38 baskets.
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