WASHINGTON — After breaking their longest losing streak for 15 years, the Miami Heat hope to get back in the zone of winning, the so-called Heat Culture that has made the franchise a perennial threat to the go deep into NBA seasons. On Friday night, Miami used an actual zone to move one step closer to getting back into a winning culture for this season.
Jimmy Butler scored 24 points while Bam Adebayo had 20 points and 14 rebounds as the Heat outmuscled the Washington Wizards on their way to a 110-102 victory, Miami’s first back-to-back wins since January 15. Kevin Love also produced a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds, while coming off the bench as the Heat outrebounded Washington 59-43 while making more free throws (27) than the Wizards attempted (21) on the evening.
After a victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday that snapped a seven-game losing streak, the longest for the Heat since the 2007-08 season, Miami recovered from a 59-56 halftime deficit tonight, using a zone defense in the second half that led the Heat to outscore Washington 31-15 to take control. The Heat held Washington to just 28 percent shooting (6-of-21) from the field as both Butler and guard Terry Rozier attacked the paint efficiently. Both attempted five free throws in the quarter, with Rozier making all of his attempts, while Love made all three of his shots from the field in scoring seven points in the period.
Josh Richardson and Tyler Herro nailed threes on back-to-back possessions at the end of the third for Miami, who ended the period on a 17-3 run to take an 87-74 lead in to the fourth. Herro, along with backcourt mate Terry Rozier, scored 15 points, with Rozier making all 11 of his free throw attempts on the evening.
Corey Kispert came off the bench to lead all scorers with 26 points for the Wizards, who have lost two straight after recording their first two-game winning streak of the season after wins last Saturday at Detroit and this past Wednesday in San Antonio.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s event, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Clifford Ray Williams. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 31 pictures in total.