Heat-Wizards Preview

Miami’s five-game winning streak ended with an frustrating

defeat to LeBron James’ former team. A visit to Washington could

provide the Heat with a good opportunity to bounce back.

The Heat try to get back on track with a sixth consecutive road

win over the lowly Wizards on Wednesday night.

Returning to Cleveland on Tuesday for the second time since

leaving the Cavaliers last summer, James recorded his fourth

triple-double of the season with 27 points, 12 assists and 10

rebounds but Miami (51-23) suffered a stunning 102-90 loss.

“Anytime we play anybody, we know we’re going to get the best

out of them,” said James, who has averaged 30.7 points and 10.0

rebounds over the last three games.

It was the second loss in 10 games for the Heat, who slipped

one-half game behind second-place Boston in the Eastern Conference

with eight games remaining.

Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and Mike Bibby added 23 as the Heat

rallied from a 23-point deficit only to fall short, That came two

games after it outscored Philadelphia 34-17 in the fourth quarter

to rally for a 111-99 home win Friday.

Miami, which averaged 109.0 points and shot 50.4 during its

winning streak, shot just 42.3 percent Tuesday. The Cavaliers,

meanwhile, made a season-high 55.6 percent of their attempts.

“The majority of time in this league you get what you deserve

and we got exactly what we deserved,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

said. “This pattern started two games ago, and we’re a little

confused what our identity is.”

Hoping to put that defeat behind them, the Heat can focus on

trying to extend their overall winning streak to five games against

Washington. Miami has held the Wizards to 89.7 points per game

while winning 10 of the last 11 matchups.

Wade scored 41 points in a 121-113 home win over the Wizards in

the teams’ last meeting Feb. 25.

James, who had 25 in that contest, scored 32 in the Heat’s 95-94

win at Washington on Dec. 18. He has averaged 31.8 points on 54.4

percent shooting in his last four visits to Washington.

While Miami tries to avoid losing two in a row for the first

time since March 6-8, Washington (18-55) looks to win consecutive

games for the first time Jan. 15-17.

Without injured starters Nick Young, Andray Blatche, Rashard

Lewis and Trevor Booker, John Wall scored 28 points and Jordan

Crawford added 25 as the Wizards beat Utah 100-95 in overtime

Monday for their second road victory of the season.

“The rookies definitely stepped up,” said forward JaVale McGee,

who had 11 points and 17 rebounds. “But I don’t consider them

rookies anymore. It’s the second half of the season. They’re damn

near vets.”

Averaging 22.8 points in the last four games, Wall had 24 and 12

assists at Miami last month after missing the first two games with

Heat because of knee problems.

Though Young, Lewis and Blatche are likely to remain out, Booker

could return after missing two straight with a foot injury.