Heat-Wizards Preview

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.