Heat loss allows Pacers to grab top seed
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots the ball over Miami Heat guard Toney Douglas (0) in the first quarter at Verizon Center. Photo by Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
WASHINGTON - Trevor Ariza scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting as the Washington Wizards cruised past the defending champion Miami Heat 114-93 at Verizon Center on Monday.
Miami suffered its fourth loss in the last five contests which means they surrendered the Eastern Conference's top seed to the Indiana Pacers.
The Heat, who rested both reigning NBA MVP LeBron James and centre Chris Bosh in their second to last game of the regular season, will be the number two seed when the postseason starts this weekend.
The Heat allowed the Wizards to shoot an impressive 59 percent from the field and go 14-of-29 from three-point range. Ariza drained five-of-eight three-point attempts and Al Harrington nailed four-of-six from beyond the arc in a 16-point performance off the bench.
Nene and Bradley Beal tallied 18 and 15 points, respectively, to Washington's third straight victory. Marcin Gortat posted a double-double of 10 points and 13 boards.
Michael Beasley paced the shorthanded Heat with 18 points and Toney Douglas scored 14 in the loss. Dwyane Wade, playing for the second time since returning from a nine-game absence caused by an injured hamstring, had just nine points in 18-plus minutes of playing time.
The Wizards cruised into halftime with comfortable 70-48 lead as they shot a blistering 70.3 percent in the first half.
Washington carried that over into the third quarter, going ahead by as much as 36 points and taking a commanding 98-65 lead into the fourth.
Miami outscored Washington 28-16 in the final frame to make the final score more respectable.
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