Mateo’s Hoop Diary: The Heat handled the Wizards in Washington

Following a tense first half for the visiting Heat, carried in large part by Terry Rozier, the crew separated from the Wizards the rest of the way with an abundance of trays and strikes in the lane in Duncan Robinson’s comeback. The visitors also prevented any lead change post intermission following 12 prior.

The Heat was missing Tyler Herro (foot) and Caleb Martin (ankle). The Wizards were absent Bilal Coulibaly (wrist), Kyle Kuzma (heel), Tyus Jones (back) and Landry Shamet (calf).

Early, the Wizards contested the Heat’s long-range attack cleanly, forcing eight consecutive deep misses in the half-court and in transition. On offense, Jordan Poole swished two triples. Anthony Gill nailed a pick-and-pop jumper at the top of the key and broke into the paint for two buckets. And Marvin Bagley III rim rolled, dunking twice off a putback and a direct feed through the middle.

On the other side, Rozier lit the Heat’s fuse to start. He hit a left-side jumper facing drop coverage, dusted Poole from the top to the cup for a layup, left Bagley stumbling after a crossover in transition plus the basket and made one catch-and-release banger.

On top of that, Jimmy Butler scored by driving through Patrick Baldwin Jr. on the right side and cutting through the center for a catch and score helped by Nikola Jović. And Haywood Highsmith contributed five points.

Through 12 minutes, the match was tied at 29, with the Heat shooting 47.8% to the Wizards’ 42.3%.

Next, the visitors stuck closely to the snipers, permitting two of seven 3-point makes, but gave up the square on a surplus of drive-byes. Poole did the most damage, dropping nine of the hosts’ 30 marks in the frame.

Yet the Heatles attack erupted like a stack of TNT behind Adebayo splintering the paint four times and Rozier cashing three triples and one step-back jumper at the elbow after isolating Poole.

At halftime, the Heat was ahead 66-59 and up on the boards by three. The squad had 28 paint points, 15 on the break, six via second chances, eight after turnovers and 18 from the bench.

Rozier dispensed 20 points on eight of 13 shots, two rebounds, two dimes and two steals. Adebayo scored 13 on seven attempts and recovered five boards. And Jović filed nine points, six rebounds and two assists.

The Wizards picked up 30 interior points, six in the open court, nine on extra tries, eight after turnovers and 23 from the bench.

Poole registered 15 points on five of 12 attempts, with five assists. Gill scored a dozen on eight tries and claimed four boards. And Bagley had eight points and four rebounds.

Out of the break, the Heat’s defense forced unsuccessful outside jumpers and, midway through the quarter, was up by 16 points. Then, over 69 seconds, the protections loosened up, conceding a baseline cut and dunk to Corey Kispet, a rim roll to Gill and a corner triple to Jared Butler for seven unanswered points.

The Heat’s counter was a three by Highsmith and Delon Wright, plus Butler’s turnaround jumper on the left side over Gill.

The fourth quarter started with the Heat above 95-80. Despite the Wizards having its most effective sequence of the game, pouring in 27 points on 55% accuracy, it was too late. Before Butler subbed out, he cut into the paint for a layup and spun past Jared Butler, recording a basket through contact. Rozier was the only other Heatle late to record multiple field goals. And the rest of the unit made five of 11 shots.

The Heat won 119-107. The squad had 46 paint points, 21 on the break, 10 via second chances, 18 after turnovers and 35 from the bench.

Rozier logged 27 points on 11 of 19 looks, with four rebounds, two assists, four steals and a block. Adebayo had 22 on his scorecard on 50% accuracy, with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, a block and five turnovers. And Butler had 17 points on five of 11 ventures, with eight rebounds and four assists.

The Wizards picked up 56 interior points, 15 in the open court, 11 on extra tries, 18 after turnovers and 45 from the reserves.

Poole had 22 points, making eight of 20 shots, and added four rebounds, eight assists, one steal and four turnovers. Gill put up 18 points on 58.3% shootings, with four rebounds. And Deni Avdija tallied 15 to his ledger with nine rebounds and six dimes.

Rozier handled the on-court interview. He gave credit to teammates and coaches for his output.

At the postgame presser, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked if he feels his team is prepared for the upcoming challenges. He said, “Yeah. All I’m thinking about is getting ready for Tuesday… we’ll rest up and get onto Miami and prepare for a big game against New York on Tuesday.”

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