WASHINGTON (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Miami Heat end their final road trip of the season in dire need of a victory when they visit the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
The Heat split the first two games of the trek, dropping a two-point decision at Toronto on Friday night to sink a game out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with three to play.
James Johnson scored 22 points to lead Miami, which finishes the regular season by hosting Cleveland and Washington.
The Wizards close out their home schedule after winning 106-103 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall added 24 and eight assists for Washington, which is a half-game behind Toronto for third place in the East.
Miami won the first two meetings this season while averaging 113 points.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)
ABOUT THE HEAT (38-41): Johnson also had 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in a solid all-around performance that came in his second straight start. He is averaging 24 points, seven boards and 2.5 thefts in those starts as he fills in for Luke Babbitt (hip), and posted an average of 15.5 points versus Washington this season. Goran Dragic produced 34 points in the previous meeting but is coming off a one-assist, four-turnover effort in the loss to the Raptors.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (48-31): Although they have won two in a row, Washington continues to struggle to make enough stops on the defensive end, as nine of the last 10 opponents have scored at least 100 points. “We have a bigger picture,” Wall told reporters. “We’re trying to play for the playoffs and play for something special so we have to do a better job defensively. Defense is a big factor in the playoffs because every possession matters. Offense and all that is not our problem.” Forward Markieff Morris (ankle) missed Thursday’s win and averaged 23.8 minutes over his last four games.
1. Washington C Marcin Gortat was 7-for-7 from the field against New York and is shooting 77.8 percent from the field in April.
2. Heat C Hassan Whiteside has four straight double-doubles and is averaging 17.5 points and 17 rebounds against the Wizards.
3. Wall and Beal had 59 of Washington’s 101 points in the previous matchup with Miami.
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