Wizards stun Heat for 2nd win of season; Thunder, Grizzlies win again
Washington Wizards' Kevin Seraphin (13), and Shaun Livingston (14) defend Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in Washington. The Wizards won 105-101. / AP Photo/Nick Wass
WASHINGTON His feet soaking in a tub of ice, his eyes scanning a box score, LeBron James chuckled a bit at the notion that his Miami Heat might learn something from a surprising setback against the Washington Wizards.
"Nah, man, there's not no lesson. This ain't a lesson for us. We just lost," James explained. "We've seen and been through everything, so we don't need a loss to be like, `Oh, let's catch ourselves.' It happens."
Not too many people figured this outcome would happen, though, a message Wizards coach Randy Wittman delivered to his players before their worst-in-the-NBA team went out and beat the Heat 105-101 on Tuesday night behind Jordan Crawford's 22 points and despite James' triple-double of 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
Perhaps inspired by the courtside presence of Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who exchanged a handshake with Cowboys fan James after the final buzzer, the Wizards doubled their victory total this season. The Wizards improved to 2-13, earning their second win in the past three games after starting a franchise-worst 0-12.
"I'm so happy for those guys," said Wittman, who called this perhaps the most satisfying victory of his coaching career.
He said he told his team beforehand: "The only people that think you have a chance tonight are the people here in this room. ... We need to have a statement game."
And, Wittman continued, "I said, `I've seen it a number of times, guys.' ... (People say), `They ain't got a chance to win this game.' And that's what people were saying. We all listen. Could hear it on the street and all that. These guys, it bothers them."
The reigning NBA champion Heat's six-game winning streak ended, and they fell to 12-4.
"You move on," said Dwyane Wade, who scored 24 for Miami. "You learn from it, but you don't become a good team by holding onto certain losses or certain wins."
The Wizards -- ranked dead last in CBSSports.com's power rankings -- don't defeat many teams, but they defeat the Heat: This made it three consecutive regular-season victories for Washington over Miami, including two last season in April.
"It's a big momentum win for us, obviously. We've been struggling to put together four quarters," Washington point guard Shaun Livingston said.
The Heat were the ones rushing shots on occasion and they made only 8 of 28 attempts on 3-pointers. The Wizards, surprisingly, were the ones being patient, making the extra pass, finding the teammate with an open look and finishing with 31 assists on 38 baskets.
With a crowd of 17,761 not, incidentally, a sellout standing and screaming down the stretch, relishing that rare chance to witness a compelling game, Kevin Seraphin contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds for the hosts, Crawford made three free throws in the final 11 seconds, and James missed a potentially tying 3-pointer with 3.9 to go.
After trailing by as many as 12, Miami tied the game at 88 on Bosh's reverse layup with 6 minutes, 50 seconds left. But Crawford's 15-footer put Washington ahead 99-95 with a little more than 2? minutes remaining.
With 18 seconds left, James wasted a chance to give the Heat the lead, clanking a 3-point attempt. Crawford's free throw then made it 102-99, and he slapped his palms together vociferously. James made a shot in the lane to pull within 102-101, and Crawford added two free throws for a 104-101 edge with 6.9 seconds on the clock.
James then missed his last shot, another 3. Nene got the rebound, and tacked on a free throw.
Unlike the James-Wade-Bosh Heat, the Wizards are mostly a collection of castoffs and high draft picks who never lived up to their billing or have yet to, anyway. Their best player, 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall, has yet to participate in a practice, let alone play, this season because of a left knee cap injury.
Elswehere in the NBA:
Oklahoma City Thunder seemed to be making light work of a seemingly difficult assignment away to the Brooklyn Nets when they cruised to a 16-point lead. However Brooklyn rallied and whittled the gap down to just two points, only for the Thunder to steady and notch a 117-111 win.
Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists as Oklahoma City brought up a sixth straight victory. They also became the first team in 15 years to pass 100 points in 10 straight games.
Deron Williams scored a season-high 34 points for the Nets, who had their six-game home winning streak snapped.
The Memphis Grizzlies had an even tighter game, needing overtime and a banner performance by Zach Randolph to beat the Phoenix Suns 108-98.
Randolph set season highs with 38 points and 22 rebounds. He was 15 of 22 from the field and dominated in the latter stages of the fourth quarter and early minutes of overtime. Memphis outscored the Suns 14-4 in the extra period, with all the Suns' points coming at the foul line.
Quincy Pondexter had a season-high 16 points for Memphis, while Goran Dragic had 19 for the Suns.
The Minnesota Timberwolves win over the Philadelphia 76ers was not quite as much of a shock but the 105-88 road win was impressive nonetheless.
Josh Howard had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Alexey Shved hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points for the Timberwolves, who raced to a 23-point lead in the first half.
The Timberwolves made 11 of their first 19 3-point attempts after coming in shooting a woeful 27 percent from long range this season.
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 19 points.
The Houston Rockets put in a storming finish to overrun the Los Angeles Lakers and record a 107-105 home win.
Toney Douglas had a season-high 22 points and Greg Smith added a career-best 21 as Houston overcame a 13-point deficit with less than 10 minutes to go. The Rockets used two big runs, including a 9-2 spurt, to take a 100-99 lead with about 2 1/2 minutes left.
Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left to cut the lead to 106-105 before fouling Douglas, who made one of two free throws with 8.8 seconds left. Bryant missed a 3-point attempt before Metta World Peace - formerly Ron Artest - missed a putback to give Houston the win.
Bryant led the Lakers with 39 points.
It was similarly close in Chicago, where the Indiana Pacers edged the Bulls 80-76.
The Bulls were able to keep David West, Indiana's leading scorer, in check - but Paul George picked up the slack with 34 points while Roy Hibbert added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the visitors.
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