The Washington Wizards nearly extended their season-high winning streak to five games before seeing a pair of double-digit leads evaporate and a last-second shot do them in.
The Wizards look to pick up the pieces on Friday night when they host the Miami Heat.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 of his team-high 27 points in the first half of Washington’s 121-120 setback to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
The Wizards saw 17- and 16-point leads disappear before Shai Gilgeous-Alexander capped a 42-point performance by draining a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining.
“It’s obviously deflating when you have a lead, play well and allow a team to climb back in. … You can’t have a double-digit deficit evaporate like it did,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “You give a team life, and they start to feed on it. It snowballs a bit.”
The Wizards’ Bradley Beal was poised to play the hero after sinking a go-ahead jumper with 6.7 seconds to play.
“That is — that is very frustrating,” Beal said “Tip your hat off to the other team. They made tough plays, tough shots. Just like I did one before.”
Beal collected 25 points, six rebounds and six assists in his return from a five-game absence, three due to health and safety protocol and two to rest. Beal logged 37 minutes in his return, including the entire fourth quarter.
“It was a lot of minutes, heavy to start and obviously heavy to finish. But we needed him out there and he made some big plays for us,” Unseld said.
Porzingis highlighted his performance Wednesday by drilling four 3-pointers for the Wizards, who are shooting a sizzling 47.7 percent from beyond the arc over the last three games (51-for-107).
The 7-foot-3 forward/center has scored at least 25 points in three straight games and has reached the 20-point plateau on seven occasions this season.
Like Washington, Miami saw its season-high winning streak come to a halt on Wednesday. The Heat had won three in a row before opening a four-game road trip with a 112-104 setback to the Toronto Raptors.
Miami effectively was done in by a 21-0 run during the third quarter. The Heat also committed 23 turnovers and were outrebounded 42-23, including 16-4 on the offensive glass.
“That’s really the game,” said the Heat’s Kyle Lowry, who scored 19 points against his former team. “We played hard. We just missed some shots and offensive rebounds killed us.”
Max Strus led the way with 20 points for Miami, which had six players score in double figures. Gabe Vincent joined Strus in sinking three 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.
The Heat played without Bam Adebayo (bruised left knee), who is considered day-to-day. They also are expected to be without Victor Oladipo (left knee) for at least the remainder of the road trip, per coach Erik Spoelstra.
“He’s making a lot of progress,” Spoelstra said of Oladipo, who has yet to make his season debut. “But guys that are injured, a lot of your work is by yourself and behind the scenes. This is a good opportunity to spend a week with the group and he’ll be able to get enough of his work in, which I think is just good for his emotions and his stability more than anything.”
–Field Level Media