Friday, December 3 2021
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The surprising Washington Wizards kept pace at the top of the Eastern Conference on Saturday night with an impressive 16-point comeback win over the Miami Heat. Already off to their best start in 47 years, the Wizards improved to 11-5 on the season, which has them just a half game behind the first-place Brooklyn Nets

After an even first half, the Heat took control in the third quarter and quickly built a 16-point lead. The Wizards looked to be in serious trouble at that juncture, but they never gave up. Even when the Heat still led by 10 with 4:42 remaining, the Wizards kept fighting. They closed on a 19-6 run, going ahead for good on a pair of back-to-back 3s by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Spencer Dinwiddie

The Wizards have played with this kind of spirit all season long, but it turned out they had some extra motivation for this game, which is why they were able to maintain such energy down the stretch. According to star guard Bradley Beal, this game was “personal” for the Wizards after their last meeting with the Heat. 

It wasn’t easy,” Beal said. “We just stayed in the game. We know it’s a game of runs, we know how tough of a team Miami is, and they sent us a message last game. They were more physical, Gabe Vincent said something after the game that we didn’t too much like. He called us ‘soft.’ So we took it a little personal tonight. We wanted to make it a physical game because they’re a physical team. We made a good run man, and we closed it out thank God.”

The last time these teams met was just two days prior, so Vincent’s insult was still fresh in the Wizards’ mind. Vincent, who apparently made those comments at some point in the Heat’s 15-point win in their first matchup, did not play in the loss. Pretty tough to give a team extra motivation to win when you can’t even get off the bench. 

In any case, this was a big-time win for the Wizards, and another sign that they’re going to be a problem all season long. Even if they don’t finish as one of the top two seeds in the East, this team is going to be hard to play each and every night. 

“We’re getting our D.C. swagger back,” Beal said. “The fans know, they feel the energy and we feed off the energy. So please continue to support us, man, we’re gonna continue to go hard. This team is special. We’re coming.”



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