“It was a great pass. He found me there. Fortunately it was the winning shot,” said Nene, who scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards (17-46) win three games in a in a row for the first time this season. The Wizards also became just the third NBA team to record wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Miami this season, and the only one with wins in Miami and Chicago.
“That’s good. No playoffs, but that’s good. Those are big wins,” Wall said after recording his 14th double-double of the season with 13 points with 13 assists.
Of course, the Wizards didn’t get the Bulls or the Heat at full strength. The Bulls didn’t have Luol Deng and Derrick Rose for Washington’s 87-84 win on Monday. Saturday, the Heat was without LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who sat all but three minutes after dislocating his left index finger in the first quarter when it was caught in Jordan Crawford’s jersey.
For a Wizards team that has been on the wrong side of good fortune, it can’t spend any time upset that the Heat (45-18) decided to use Washington’s only visit to American Airlines Arena as an opportunity to give some of its standouts a rest. The absence of Miami’s three all-stars didn’t exactly give the Wizards an advantage, but probably made it even.
“They are a great team,” said Cartier Martin, who came off the bench to score a career-high 22 points for Washington. “Even without the guys that didn’t play, they are still the Miami Heat.”
Fans unaware of the severity of Wade’s injury started chanting, “We want Wade!” When he was ruled out, James, who was dressed and on the active roster, ran back to the training room to get taped in case of an emergency. He sprinted out of the tunnel with a sleeve on his left arm, ready to play. He sat on the bench without his warmups, but Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra chose not to go to him.
“I was thinking, start of the second half, he was coming back to play. I’ll take the win,” Wall said. “We don’t underestimate no team, even if their stars are out, because everybody is here for a reason. They are in the NBA because they can play and the Heat showed that.”