His feet soaking in a tub of ice, his eyes scanning a box score, LeBron James laughed a bit at the notion that his Miami Heat might learn something from a surprising setback against the Washington Wizards.
Not too many people figured this result would happen, though, a message Wizards coach Randy Wittman delivered to his players before their worst-in-the-NBA team went out and beat the Heat 105-101 on Tuesday night behind Jordan Crawford’s 22 points – and in spite of James’ triple-double of 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 helps.
Perhaps impressed by the courtside presence of Washington Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III, who exchanged a hand-shake with Cowboys fan James after the final buzzer, the Wizards doubled their victory total this season. The Washington Wizards improved to 2-13, earning their second win during the past three games after starting a franchise-worst 0-12.
”I’m so happy for those guys,” said Wittman, who called this perhaps the most gratifying victory of his training career.
He said he told his team previously: ”The only individuals that think you have a chance tonight are the people here in this room. … We really need to have a statement game.” Baseball odds
The ruling NBA champion Heat’s 6-game winning streak ended and they slipped to 12-4.
The Washington Wizards don’t defeat many teams, but they defeat the Heat: This made it 3 consecutive regular-season victories for Washington over Miami, including 2 last season in April.
The Miami Heat were the ones rushing on occasion and they made only 8 of 28 attempts on 3-pointers. The Wizards, surprisingly, were the ones being patient, making the extra pass, finding the teammate with an open look – and finishing with 31 assists on 38 baskets.
With a crowd of 17,761 – not actually, a sellout – standing and screaming down the stretch, relishing that rare chance to witness a forceful game, Kevin Seraphin gave 16 points and 10 rebounds for the hosts, Crawford made 3 free throws in the last 11 seconds, and James missed a potentially tying 3-pointer with 3.9 to go.
After trailing by as many as 12, Miami tied the game at 88 on Bosh’s reverse layup with 6 minutes, 50 seconds left. But Crawford’s 15-footer put Washington ahead 99-95 with a little more than 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
With 18 seconds left, James wasted a chance to give the Heat the lead, clanking a 3-point attempt. Crawford’s free throw then made it 102-99, and he smacked his palms together vociferously. James made a shot in the lane to tug within 102-101, and Crawford added 2 free throws for a 104-101 edge with 6.9 seconds on the clock.
James then missed his last shot, another 3. Nene got the rebound, and tacked on a free throw.
Unlike the James-Wade-Bosh Heat, the Wizards are mostly a collection of castoffs and high draft picks who never lived up to their billing – or have yet to, anyway. Their best player, 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall, still has to take part in a practice, not to mention play, this season because of a left knee cap injury.