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Heat Burn Wizards In Home Opener
1 November 1997. Miami Heat 109, Washington Wizards 108 (record: 0-2)
Game leaders: Webber (30 points), Webber (13 rebounds), Strickland (13 assists)
What a heart-breaking loss. The Wizards make up an 18-point deficit in the third quarter to take a late lead, but then lose it just seconds after regaining the lead on an amazing reverse lay-up by Rod Strickland.
It was just one of those nights. CWebb had a great game (30 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists) and got enough assistance once the Wizards woke up out of their trance. They clawed back into the game and took the lead with 2:29 left, then developed a 3-point lead. But poor rebounding early and missed free throws late in the game helped keep the Heat in the game. Juwan Howard went 1 for 2 twice from the free throw line late after the Wizards grabbed the lead, pushing 1-point leads only up to 2 points.
WashingtonPost.com: Post-Game Comments
With 5 seconds left and the Wizards leading by 1 (following Strickland's lay-up), Tim Hardaway broke the hearts of the Wizards players and fans. The Heat were out of timeouts, so Hardaway just took the ball and created the winning shot. Rod could never quite get in front of the quicker Hardaway. You can see the play in AVI and QuickTime formats. Ouch!
Watching Strickland trail that play, I can't help but wonder if that sore hamstring slowed Strickland down enough so that he couldn't slow down Hardaway. And I would guess that Juwan Howard showed that his lay-off for his injury affected his conditioning, which may have affected his late free throw opportunities. Coach Bernie Bickerstaff won't lay any blame on anyone, as it's a team effort. These are unfortunate excuses that really don't hide the fact that the Wizards lost this game. It was winnable, but they failed to play a full 48 minutes to win this game.
And losses like these can affect playoff standings further down the road. Let's win, guys!
wtf 4 November 1997
|Wizards Have Frightful Start To Regular Season||Terry Davis Added To Roster, Jimmy Oliver Cut|