Surging Washington looks for its fifth win in six games overall when it meets league-worst Miami on Friday night at the American Airlines Arena.
Washington (34-33) has easily defeated the Heat by an average of 17.5 points in two wins this season, including a 104-91 road victory on Dec. 13 that snapped an eight-game skid in Miami. The Wizards haven’t won a season series from the Heat since taking three of four in 2002-03.
Miami is coming off Wednesday’s 96-54 loss to Toronto. It was the third-lowest point total in the shot-clock era, and just five points off the NBA record-low.
Washington, meanwhile, posted an 87-86 win over Southeast Division-leading Orlando. Antawn Jamsion scored 21 of his 31 points in the second half and finished with 11 rebounds.
“I thought he really played smarter in the second half,” Washington coach Eddie Jordan said of Jamison. “He played harder and got himself closer to the rim as opposed to taking 3’s and tough shots.”
The Wizards are trying to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. They’re sixth in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of New Jersey, and five in front of New Jersey and Atlanta, which are tied for the final spot.
Washington’s success is somewhat surprising since it’s had to play all but eight games without Gilbert Arenas, who averaged 28.4 points last season. Caron Butler also missed 16 games with a hip injury, but is averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in four contests since returning on March 13.
“It shows what kind of team we are,” the Wizards’ Brendan Haywood said. “People have kind of slept on us all year long and when we get healthy and get guys playing at the level they are supposed to, we can be mentioned with any of the teams in the East.”
The Heat are 3 1/2 games behind Seattle for the league’s worst record. Against the Raptors, Miami set franchise lows for points in a game, a half (26) and shot a franchise-worst 20-for-78 (.256)
“The worse it got, the more heart we lost,” Riley said. “Every time a shot rimmed out, we got more and more frustrated. … We’ll have our day. I don’t know when, but we will have our day again.”
The Heat and Wizards wrap up their season series on April 4 in Washington.