Heat go over .500, top Wizards
MIAMI — For the first time since October, the Miami Heat walked off the court with a winning record.
Hassan Whiteside scored 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, Josh Richardson added 18 points and the Heat scrambled in the final minutes to hold off the Washington Wizards 115-109 on Friday night and move to 19-18, getting over the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 27.
“It’s definitely a good mental note,” Richardson said. “A reason to be positive and excited going forward. We just have to keep rolling now.”
James Johnson scored 17 points and Dwyane Wade had 14 for Miami, which has won 12 of its last 17 games. Justise Winslow had 13 points and 10 assists for Miami, which lost its last four chances to get over .500.
“I saw some growth in our team tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Bradley Beal led all scorers with 33 points for Washington, which had the NBA’s longest current road losing streak extended to eight games. Beal also had nine rebounds and seven assists.
Trevor Ariza scored 21, Otto Porter Jr. had 14 and Jeff Green and Thomas Bryant each added 10 for Washington.
Washington cut the Miami lead to three on a driving layup by Beal with 1:27 remaining. Wade made one free throw on the next Miami possession, moments before Beal connected on a pullup 3 to get Washington within 110-109.
Miami then had the game’s final five points.
“If we have the same effort and intensity every night, we love our chances,” Beal said.
Miami led 95-86 going into the fourth, the seventh time in the last nine games between the clubs that someone held a single-digit lead going into the final 12 minutes. The Heat led by 11 early, but eventually the Wizards settled in and the first three quarters featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes.
“It seems like every time we play one another it comes down to a fourth-quarter game,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.
Wizards: Washington missed tip-ins to close each of the first two quarters. … Markieff Morris, who will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a neck issue, was on the court pregame getting in some very light non-contact work alongside Wizards assistant coach Kristi Toliver. … John Wall, who has made Miami an offseason base in recent years, was on the Wizards’ bench. He’ll have season-ending surgery on his left heel in the coming days.
Heat: Dion Waiters, who made his season debut Wednesday in Cleveland, did not play. Waiters got minutes Wednesday in part because Wade was unavailable because of a 24-hour virus. … Miami finished with 62 points in the paint. … The Heat lost games when they were 3-3, 5-5, 16-16 and 17-17.
Wade is second among Eastern Conference guards in fan balloting for next month’s All-Star Game, which surprised him. “I just appreciate and am humbled by people taking the time out to want to see my old self in the All-Star Game,” Wade said. He’s gotten massive amounts of fan support everywhere the Heat have played in this, his 16th and final season, and is already a 12-time All-Star.
Porter played in his second game since coming back from a strained muscle in his leg, working his way up to 21 minutes. He was 7 for 14 from the field, but missed all five of his tries from 3-point range. “Otto’s feeling much better,” Brooks said. “We just want to keep his minutes at a manageable spot for the next game or two and go from there.”
Wizards: Visit Oklahoma City on Sunday. Washington has lost all nine of its previous trips to Oklahoma City.
Heat: Visit Atlanta on Sunday. Miami has averaged 115.5 points against the Hawks this season, but is 0-2 in the season series.