By William J. Ford
The Washington Wizards scored the team’s first win of the preseason Friday, defeating the Miami Heat 121-114 at Capital One Arena in D.C.
Down by eight at the half, Washington (1-1) turned up the defense to regular-season levels at the start of the third quarter, with a Ian Mahinmi block and four turnovers marking a 14-6 run to tie the game.
The Heat (0-3) shot just 39 percent from the floor in the third and were outscored 38-25.
All five Wizards starters played more than 20 minutes, which head coach Scott Brooks wanted to get them ready for Oct. 18 regular-season opener, when the two teams will meet here again.
“I think they played very well,” Brooks said of his starting five. “I think they did a good job of moving the basketball. We didn’t make a lot of threes — again — but that’s not the main concern right now. I thought in the third quarter they got a little fatigued, but for the most part I thought everybody in that starting unit played really good basketball.”
As Brooks said, the team didn’t make a lot of three-pointers, shooting 12-for-39 (31 percent) from beyond the arc. However, Washington shot 51 percent from the floor, included 58 points in the paint.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 20 points, but shot just 3-of-11 from the 3-point stripe.
“We all have to get our legs under us even more [and] it’s not going to be easy playing your regular minutes,” said Beal, who played 25 minutes Friday. “Coach is working us back into the groove a little bit more. You just got to shoot them and shoot them with confidence. Everybody always says, ‘Next shot, next shot.’ When we have that motto, I think it just creates a great atmosphere for everybody.”
Miami forward Justise Winslow and rookie Yante Maten both scored 17 points, while veteran Heat great Dwyane Wade, who plans to retire after this season, contributed 10 points off the bench.
Washington will go the road Monday against the New York Knicks, which defeated the Wizards in the preseason opener on Oct. 1.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer.