With Wade out for Wednesday’s rematch at the Verizon Center, the Wizards (31-24) hope for similar success despite possibly missing two of their top scorers.
After winning its first two games coming out the All-Star break, Washington lost its third straight—one shy of its season high—in a 113-101 defeat to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday. Leading scorer Gilbert Arenas had 26 points, but the team struggled without its next top scorers—Antawn Jamison (knee) and Caron Butler (back)—offensively, and allowed the Nets to make a franchise-record 16 3-pointers.
“Defensively our rotations weren’t what they needed to be obviously,” said Roger Mason Jr., who has received increased playing time because of Butler’s injury. He tied a career high with 18 points on Tuesday.
Butler, the team’s second-leading scorer (20.3) and rebounder (7.6), returned to Washington on Tuesday to have his back examined by doctors after he missed Sunday’s game against Minnesota. The team’s Web site is reporting he will be a game-time decision Wednesday.
Butler joins Jamison, the team’s third-leading scorer (19.3) and top rebounder (7.9) on the bench. Jamison, who hasn’t played since Jan. 30, participated in the team shootaround Tuesday.
Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said the team is monitoring the forward and hopes to have him back soon.
“We just want to be smart about the situation and make sure I help the team and not hurt it,” Jamison said in the team’s official blog.
Not having both players could hurt Washington’s bid to win back-to-back games against Miami (27-29) for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
The Wizards snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Heat on Dec. 15 at home, winning 106-95. Washington didn’t face Wade or center Shaquille O’Neal, who was out with a knee injury, in that game.
Wade is scheduled to meet with doctors on Thursday as he decides whether to rehabilitate his dislocated left shoulder, which would allow him to possibly return to the Heat lineup, or to undergo season-ending surgery to repair the joint, which he injured in a collision with Houston’s Shane Battier on Feb. 21.
“My spirits are high,” Wade said on Tuesday while appearing with teammates at the White House, where they were honored for last season’s championship title.
Miami is 1-2 without Wade in the lineup since the injury, falling 99-93 to the New York Knicks on Monday. Jason Kapono led the team with 24 points and O’Neal added 20, but he missed a potential game-tying free throw with 43.7 seconds left.
O’Neal, who is a 52.8 percent career free throw shooter, is the top scorer among active players and became just the seventh player in NBA history on Monday to reach 25,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. But the milestone mattered little to the Heat center.
“I am kind of disappointed in myself because if I make free throws I’d be at 30,000 rather than 25,000,” said O’Neal, who is 14th on the all-time scoring list.
Miami is 2-8 this season without Wade in the lineup, and Heat coach Pat Riley expressed concern about how his team will adjust if Wade is out for the remaining 26 games.
“We lost our number one attacker and unless Shaquille is getting fouled, we really don’t have that kind of player right now that’s attacking the basket,” Riley said.