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RGIII watches Wizards take down the champs

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

LeBron's triple-double comes in losing effort

Having already breathed new life into the Redskins, Robert Griffin III turned his magic on the Wizards.

With the rookie quarterback watching, the Wizards produced their most inspired performance of the season, withstanding every challenge from the Miami Heat and snapping the NBA champions' six-game winning streak with a 105-101 upset before 17,761 at Verizon Center.

Miami's big three combined for 70 points, and LeBron James had his first triple-double (26 points, 11 assists, 13 rebounds) since Game 5 of last season's NBA Finals. But it wasn't enough as Washington (2-13) never trailed after the first quarter, racked up a season-high 31 assists on 38 field goals and made 22 free throws, six more than Miami even attempted.

"I'm so happy for those guys," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "To go through the start that we have, and lose the games that we had chances to win down the stretch. As I told them, it's starting to pay off for us now."

Amazingly, the Wizards extended their winning streak against Heat (12-4) to three, building off two victories last April when Miami was gearing up for a title run and the Wizards were preparing for another draft lottery.

On Tuesday, James missed the last of five straight errant Miami 3-pointers down the stretch with 3.9 seconds remaining. Jordan Crawford (team-high 22 points) also helped, strolling in front of James clapping in between a pair of missed free throws for the league MVP with 2:30 left in the fourth.

"Make him think about it a little bit," said Crawford, who helped seal the game by hitting three of four from the line in the last 11 seconds. "It's easy to get pumped for a game against the best players."

Griffin's presence helped, too, felt instantly when he took his place in Wizards owner Ted Leonsis' courtside seats in the first quarter. Down 10-6, Washington broke open on a 17-8 run and led 23-18 on a runner from Crawford.

A 3-pointer from Ray Allen (11 points) wasn't a deterrent for Crawford, who answered right back to make it 30-25 to end the period. Another 9-0 run was finished off by Crawford stepping back and swishing a baseline jumper over Allen.

Martell Webster (13 points) celebrated his 26th birthday with a 3-pointer to push the advantage to 54-44. With a 60-54 lead at halftime, the Wizards had already reached two-thirds of their 48-minute scoring average (89.4 points per game).

They continued to beat back each of the Heat's pushes in the third quarter, though Trevor Ariza left after collapsing to the floor with a left calf strain.

Dwyane Wade had 24 points but was rattled by Shaun Livingston's defense. Chris Bosh had 20 points and 12 rebounds, but Kevin Seraphin had 16 and 10, including eight points in the final quarter.

"Tonight we were taking action," Webster said. "Rather than letting them hit us and making us react, we were actually making them react a lot. If we can keep it up, we'll be up above .500 in no time."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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