One-win Wizards welcome defending champion Heat

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Wizards host Heat team

on six-game win streak

It doesn't get any bigger for the Wizards than hosting the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat. Then again, this is a Wizards team that still has just one victory and much work left to prove it can compete every time it steps on the floor.

"We've got to treat every game like we're playing defending champions," forward Martell Webster said. "That's how the great teams play. We're not going to win every game, but if you're preparing yourself like you're going to war, Game 7 of the playoffs, more time than not, you're going to go out and compete and leave with a win. That's how our mind and our preparation has to be from here on out."

Up Next
Heat at Wizards
When » Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where » Verizon Center
TV » CSN

The Wizards (1-13) were served an unwelcome reminder that their troubles are far from over with a 108-87 pasting at New York (12-4) on Friday, Washington's second-worst defeat of the season coming on the heels of its first victory.

The Heat (12-3) are playing even better, riding a six-game winning streak, and are tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the best record in the NBA. It's a sign of how difficult Miami has become to beat and how much more at ease the Heat are following last spring's title run.

LeBron James (24.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 6.5 apg) was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year on Monday.

"I always admired how hard he played," Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. "That's why I loved watching him growing up."

But coming out of Florida, the 19-year-old Beal was compared to James' teammates, Dwyane Wade for his slashing ability and Ray Allen for his pure shooting stroke. Wade made it his mission to abuse the rookie in the teams' preseason meeting in Kansas City. He also ended up in a brief standoff with Chris Singleton in that game after the two tangled in a battle for a rebound. It adds an extra dimension for the latest encounter, which comes after the Wizards took two in a row from Heat during a meaningless six-game winning streak to end last year.

Wade's production (19.5 ppg, 4.9 apg) is down this season from his career averages, but it can afford to be with the aid of Allen (13.3 ppg), who is shooting 52.6 percent outside the arc. Rashard Lewis, after a season and a half in Washington, is also shooting 50 percent (16 for 32) from 3-point range in mostly limited minutes off the bench.

"He didn't have his legs underneath him in the time he was here with us," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "It was tough we didn't get to see the full affect of what he was."

The Heat have only one regular contributor shooting below 40 percent from the field: Norris Cole (36.8 percent). As a team, the Wizards shoot 40.3 percent.

"I didn't anticipate us still being what we are shooting the ball," Wittman said. "That's the biggest surprise. ... That makes it tough to score."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Author:

Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner