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Heat-Wizards Preview

AP - Sports

After spending a day joking around with the President of the United States, the Miami Heat turn their attention back to basketball and their mini-skid.

Getting two starters back in the lineup and playing in Washington should help.

The Heat look to avoid a third straight loss Wednesday night against a Wizards team that's struggling mightily at home.

Miami (27-10) spent Tuesday at the White House, where President Obama honored the team for winning a second straight title.

"We've got some outstanding members of Congress who are big fans of the Heat that are (here) from both parties, because we all know nothing brings people together like the Miami Heat," Obama joked.

The Heat are again one of the favorites to win this season's championship, but they arrived in the nation's capital in the midst of a little funk.

After getting outscored by 15 after halftime in Thursday's 102-92 loss to New York, Miami suffered a 104-95 double-overtime defeat in Brooklyn the following night. The Heat made 6 of 23 3-pointers and LeBron James fouled out with 36 seconds left in the first overtime - the first time he fouled out in the regular season since 2008.

James fouling out meant Chris Bosh was the only regular starter to play in the second extra session for Miami. Dwyane Wade rested his sore knees after playing 39 minutes the previous night, and Shane Battier (strained quadriceps) and Mario Chalmers (strained Achilles) spent the game in street clothes.

Wade is slated to return and Battier, who has missed the last five games, practiced Monday and is hoping to be back. However, Chalmers didn't practice and could miss a fourth game in a row.

The Heat, who have lost back-to-back games three times this season, are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak in the regular season since Jan. 10-13, 2012.

"We lost the last two on the road so we got to go out there and get a big one on the road," Wade said.

The Heat would seem to have a good shot at bouncing back in Washington, where the Wizards have dropped seven of eight. Strangely, Washington (17-19), which is opening a five-game homestand, won for the seventh time in nine road games with Monday's 102-88 victory over Chicago.

"We got to find a way to play a home game," guard John Wall said. "For some reason when we go on the road we're playing great, we're playing 48 minutes and we're winning. Until we figure it out at home we won't win no games."

Wall and Nene had 19 points apiece and the Wizards shot 52.0 percent against the defensive-minded Bulls.

The Heat are also considered a tough team to score on, but they've allowed an average of 101.9 points on 49.1 percent shooting in their last nine games. Coach Erik Spoelstra said defense was the focus of Monday's practice.

"We've had some slippage," Spoelstra said. "We need to get back on it. Our guys understand it. We were humbled this past weekend ... And we needed a day like today to get back to the basics and remind ourselves that we have some work to do."

James scored 16 in the first period against the Nets and finished with 36 points. He has scored at least 30 in four straight games, shooting 62.8 percent.

James had 25 points, Bosh scored 24 and Wade added 20 in the Heat's last game against the Wizards, a 103-93 victory Nov. 3 for their fourth straight win in the series.

Miami is 9-3 against Washington since acquiring James, and two of those losses came when he didn't play.

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