World Cup 2014 coverage:

Miami hits the boards in win over Wizards

The SportsXchange

MIAMI - Chris Bosh, who had 17 points and nine rebounds in the Miami Heat's 99-71 win over the Washington Wizards Sunday night, seems to be taking his team's recent failures on the boards personally.

"I'm counting my rebounds now so everyone can get off my back," said Bosh, who had just 13 rebounds in his previous three games combined. "That's nine tonight, and I've got to get nine the next game - maybe even 10."

As a team, the Heat outrebounded the Wizards 50-39. That's in stark contrast to the previous three games, when the Heat was outrebounded by an average of 12.7 boards per outing.

Included in that was Chicago's win at Miami on Friday, when the Bulls outrebounded the Heat by 20 boards.

Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra called Sunday's performance a "bounce back," and he could have been talking about the win or those other bounces - the ones off the rim.

"We did a better job of in-traffic rebounds," Spoelstra said. "We showed more of a disposition to rebound. Effort is a talent. If it were easy, everyone would do it."

Rebounding was such a concern for Spoelstra that instead of practicing Saturday, the Heat watched film on each of the Bulls' 19 offensive boards.

Spoelstra said he was happy Sunday night to see Bosh jumping more often for rebounds.

"I like to see him get off the floor," Spoelstra said. "He was active. He had four blocks, but he probably had seven or eight more that he altered. It felt like he is a 7-footer, which is what he is with his wingspan."

Miami (23-9), which has the best record in the Eastern Conference, led 78-71 with 7:14 left in the game before closing on a 21-0 run.

"Defensively, I thought we challenged them really well," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "But you have to be able to score. We didn't do that, and they closed out the game."

The Heat was led by LeBron James, who had 24 points, seven assists and two rebounds. He sprained his left ankle in the third quarter but remained in the game.

"Add (the ankle) to the list," said James, who entered the game with an aching knee among other bumps and bruises.

Elsewhere for the Heat, guard Dwyane Wade was held to 14 points after scoring at least 20 points in seven straight games.

The Heat made up for that with strong efforts off the bench by Ray Allen (20 points) and Mike Miller (13 points).

Meanwhile, the Wizards (4-28), who have more overtime losses (five) than wins this season, were led by Kevin Seraphin (14 points) and Cartier Martin (13 points).

The Wizards have lost five games in a row and have the worst record in the NBA, even though one of their wins came against the reigning league-champion Heat.

In fact, even with the win, the Heat are just 3-3 in their past six games against Washington.

On Sunday, though, the Wizards ran into a determined Heat team. Miami held Washington to 35.8 percent shooting.

"We came in with a focus," Allen said. "Defense was something we really had to clamp down on, and we did that."

Seraphin thought his Wizards lacked effort in the fourth quarter.

"We got lazy," he said. "We have to keep going to make more stops. They're a championship team, but we just missed our shots."

Notes: The Heat has released reserve guard Terrell Harris. If he clears waivers, he could be re-signed Monday on a 10-day contract. Spoelstra said the move was made to give the team roster flexibility. ... Wizards rookie and former Florida Gator Bradley Beal was coming off a career-high 24 points in a double-overtime loss to Brooklyn on Friday. He averaged 13.4 points in December, earning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors. The Heat, though, held him to nine points. ... Four injured Wizards practiced Sunday and are close to returning: John Wall (left knee), A.J. Price (broken right hand), Trevor Ariza (left calf) and Trevor Booker (right knee). ... Point guard Garrett Temple, who was the Heat's final cut in the preseason, is now starting for the Wizards and was coming off a career-high 11 assists against Brooklyn. He had no points but seven assists against the Heat. "We were a big fan of (Temple)," Spoelstra said. "That was a tough cut. He should've been in this league already. It's good to see him get an opportunity with these guys. You root for guys like that." ... Up next, the Wizards return home to face Oklahoma City on Monday, their second straight game against a 2012 NBA finalist. ... The Heat starts a six-game road trip Tuesday at Indiana.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments