Heat Check: Miami avoids slow start to beat Washington

MIAMI — The Miami Heat returned home following two road losses (Philadelphia, Brooklyn) to defeat the Washington Wizards 103-93 at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday night.

The win against the winless Wizards evened the Heat’s record at 2-2.

After suffering a slow start in each of their first three games, the Heat fell behind 9-2 just one minute, 18 seconds in. But this time, Miami quickly got itself going offensively with excellent ball movement that resulted in open shots … that went in.

Doing a better job sharing the ball resulted in 37 field goals and 32 assists for Miami.

The Heat led by 23 points entering the fourth quarter. Despite getting to within single digits late, Washington never really threatened in the second half.

Miami shot 65 percent in the first quarter despite missing its final five shots. The Heat hit 13 of 20 shots overall to build a 33-27 lead.

Lebron James shot 5 of 7 — including 3 of 3 from 3-point territory — and scored 14 first-quarter points.

Dwyane Wade played 9:03 in the second quarter, when he shot 4 of 7 and scored eight points to help Miami build a 61-48 halftime lead.

Chris Bosh had 11 points — hitting all four shots — five rebounds and two assists in the first half.

Yes the Big Three led the way. James finished with 25 points, Bosh 24 and Wade 20.

Rebounding was still an issue, as Washington outrebounded Miami 41-32. The Wizards also had 17 offensive boards.

The turning point

Not many NBA games include a second-quarter turning point, but the Heat used an 18-5 run over a 4:50 span to build a 16-point lead 3:29 before halftime. Six different Miami players scored during the spurt.

The difference maker

LeBron James. Besides his game-high points total, his first-quarter shooting helped Miami quickly overcome that early deficit and grab control of the game.

Stat of the game

Miami had a season-high 32 assists.

What’s next

Heat play the Raptors in Toronto on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.