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Washington Wizards easily handle battered Miami Heat

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The Sports Xchange
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) scores against Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) in the first half at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2016. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) scores against Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) in the first half at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2016. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- The Miami Heat are one battered and bruised bunch. The starting backcourt of Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic weren't in uniform against the Washington Wizards. Center Hassan Whiteside and forward Luol Deng exited with injuries. The missing bodies are contributing to a losing skid and a somber mood.

The Wizards, another team dealing with injuries and losses, showed no sympathy.

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Guard John Wall had 18 points and 10 assists, guard Bradley Beal also scored 18 as the Washington Wizards snapped a recent home funk with a 106-87 win over the Miami Heat Wednesday night.

Washington (20-21) snapped a two-game slide. The Wizards had lost five of six home games starting with a 97-75 debacle against Miami on Jan. 3.

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Soon after that impressive win, things turned south for the South Florida squad. Miami (23-20) has lost three straight and six of seven.

Forward Chris Bosh led Miami with 18 points against Washington. Before reporters could ask a question postgame, Bosh tried breaking the tension.

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"Somebody get a violin before you ask a question," he joked after the first stop on Miami's five-game road trip. "Get a nice little medley going in A-minor. A-minor is a sad note, right?

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The Wizards offense harmonized beautifully as six players scored in double figures, including forward Nene, who had 16 points and a season-high with five steals. Center Marcin Gortat finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Washington never trailed, outscored Miami 25-15 in the second quarter for a 51-37 halftime lead and put the game away with a 15-4 run in the second half for its largest lead at 92-68.

"The biggest thing we wanted to do was come out with energy," Beal said. "The past couple of games here we gave (games) away at home because we come out real slow, sluggish. It's kind of been a trend all year and we're trying to break it. We did a great job tonight of just being aggressive from the start and doing it throughout the game."

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Wade joined the quartet of injured players, including forward Josh McRoberts (bruised right knee), that sat out against the Bucks. The veteran guard sat out with a sore shoulder after playing in Tuesday's 91-79 home loss against the Milwaukee Bucks while Dragic (calf strain) missed his fifth straight game.

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Whiteside left in the second quarter with an oblique injury and did not return. Deng was inadvertently poked in the eye late in the game.

"Our trainers will be busy," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We have everybody on staff with us for a reason. They won't have a day of but the rest of the group will."

Four Wizards, including small forward Otto Porter (hip) were unavailable. Washington leads the NBA in missed games due to injury.

The Wizards lead the season series 2-1.

Miami shot 48.5 percent from the field. Without their primary ball handlers, the Heat committed 21 turnovers -- 16 in the first half -- which the Wizards turned into 27 points. Deng had 16 points and guard Tyler Johnson added 14.

The Heat pulled within five during the third quarter, but the Wizards avoided another home setback.

"That is something we have to be proud of," Beal said. "That's a stride that we made.

Whiteside's defense keyed the victory earlier this month. Without the 7-footer around most of the game, Washington shot 52.3 percent from the field and scored 46 points in the paint. Guard Garrett Temple scored 11 points and forward Jared Dudley had 10 off the bench.

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Nene made his first start of the season alongside Gortat. The big man combo countered the Bosh-Whiteside tandem that hurt Washington in the previous meeting.

"I thought Nene was aggressive," Wittman said.

Amar'e Stoudemire replaced Whiteside at center starting the second half. He scored a season-high 11 points. With the injuries piling up, Miami might need more from Stoudemire and others in the next game.

"This train keeps on going," Spoelstra said. "Nobody is waiting for us. We don't expect anybody to wait for us."

NOTES: The Wizards entered Wednesday last in opponents' field-goal percentage (47.3) and 3-point percentage (40.1) at home. ... Miami played without F Chris Andersen (knee) and G Beno Udrih (neck strain). ... Wizards F Kris Humphries (sore right knee) missed his ninth straight game. ... Washington won 114-103 in Miami on Dec. 7. ... The series wraps up Feb. 20 in Miami. ... The Heat visit Toronto on Friday. The Heat and Raptors split two previous games this season, both in Miami. ... Washington plays host to the Utah Jazz on Saturday in the fourth of five straight home games.

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