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Mar 30, 2024 3:45 pm

After a 60-point win, Heat to tackle Wizards

deni avdija

The Miami Heat head to Washington, D.C., on Sunday looking to stay within striking distance of a guaranteed playoff spot when they face the home-standing Washington Wizards.

Miami (40-33) sat a game behind Indiana for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference entering Saturday after the Heat blasted the Portland Trail Blazers 142-82 on Friday night.

Bam Adebayo’s near-triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists led the way in the most lopsided win in Heat franchise history.

“An energy and an intentionality, that’s what we’re aiming for right now,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of the team’s approach to the final stretch of the regular season.

“It doesn’t guarantee you the results you want, but you stack those kinds of minutes, possessions, quarters, games, and you start to build those habits and, hopefully, that becomes more who you are.”

The blowout provided the Heat an opportunity to spread minutes, resulting in Thomas Bryant collecting 26 points with 12 rebounds — both season-highs — and Haywood Highsmith notching a career-high 20 points.

Miami’s matchup with Portland on Friday and Sunday’s visit to Washington are nestled between two stretches with multiple games against opponents in the playoff hunt.

The Heat drew Philadelphia, Cleveland twice, New Orleans and Golden State preceding Friday’s contest, going 2-3 in those games. They follow Sunday’s game with dates against New York and Philadelphia at home, Houston, Indiana and Atlanta all on the road, and back home against Dallas.

All are currently in position to make the postseason, and all but Atlanta have a record better than .500.

Washington, meanwhile, aims to finish a trying campaign with positive momentum going into its offseason. The Wizards scored their first three-game winning streak of the season with victories over Sacramento and Toronto last week, and at Chicago on Monday.

They since have dropped the past two: a 122-119, overtime decision Wednesday against Brooklyn and a 96-87 final Friday vs. Detroit.

The 87 points were the fewest Washington scored in any game this season. The resulting loss also moves the Wizards (14-60) closer to a dubious franchise record for the worst overall mark in a season.

The 2000-01 and 2008-09 Wizards both finished 19-63. As the Chicago Packers in 1961-62, the franchise went 18-62. There are eight games left in the current season.

“It’s all about the way we approach these games, and if you’re not ready to play when the ball goes up, any team in the league can beat anybody,” forward Corey Kispert said to the Washington Post on Friday.

“We don’t have enough wins. We’re not good enough to come to games not ready to play.”

Kispert’s 23 points led Washington against Detroit, while both Deni Avdija and Marvin Bagley III put up double-doubles. Bagley had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor with 11 rebounds, while Avdija nearly posted a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

Avdija has a double-double in each of the past three games he has played. Bagley has scored in double figures in all four games since returning from a nine-game absence due to a lower-back strain.

-Field Level Media

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