Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
While the Wizards had a packed house last night for fan appreciation night, we are not sure that the Heat fans in attendance expected all of their starters to sit out of the game tonight.
As the Heat prepares for the play-in game, the Wizards played for pride with their bench as well and while the final score was much closer than it seemed, the Wizards controlled the game leading by 20 plus points multiple times after the Wizards broke a 55-all tie and took control in the third quarter with a 29-6 run.
The second half was something that Wizards Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said is motivating for quite a few of his players they are evaluating for the 2023-24 season.
“It’s good to see them celebrate each other even when it’s not going well,” Wes Unseld Jr. said. “To offer words of encouragement. To try to breathe life or confidence in certain guys. It goes a long way.”
Corey Kispert scored 19 points for Washington, and Jordan Goodwin added 16 points.
Miami cut the lead to single digits late, pulling as close as six when Victor Oladipo’s last 3 made it 111-105 with 31.4 seconds left.
Tonight’s game marked the 9th game that the Wizards have played without Bradley Beal, who continues to battle a knee injury. It is expected that he will miss the final game against Houston on Sunday as well.
No. 7 Miami will play host to No. 8 Atlanta on Tuesday night, while No. 9 Toronto will get a visit from No. 10 Chicago on Wednesday night in the first two games of the East play-in.
At the end of the first quarter as part of fan appreciation night, the Wizards honored former players Jahidi White, Larry Hughes and Tracy Murray, who made huge impacts during their time as Wizards. Both Hughes and White, who played together and are St. Louis natives were part of one of the best eras of the Wizards.
Murray, who was known as one of the best three-point shooters on the Wizards rounded out the very first team that opened then MCI Center in 1997 and was a member of the final Bullets squad that played at Capital Centre before the move downtown a year later.