Published March 30, 2011
WASHINGTON – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat had a surprisingly tough time against the lowly Wizards — even after No. 1 draft pick John Wall was ejected for a second-quarter scuffle.
James finished with 35 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Wade had 33 points and nine assists, and Chris Bosh scored 26, helping Miami get past Washington 123-107 Wednesday night and avoid what would have been a second consecutive embarrassing loss.
Washington was left without its best player when Wall and two Miami reserves — Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard — were kicked out of the game. The Heat led by as many as 13, but the Wizards managed to make it a one-point game in the fourth quarter, at 91-90 on Jordan Crawford's 3 with 9½ minutes left.
But Wade immediately responded with a three-point play, and Washington never again got closer than two.
Crawford — like Wall, a rookie — scored 39 points, 12 more than his previous career high.
Miami's trio of stars combined for 94 of its points, helping the Southeast Division leader squeak by against one of the league's most downtrodden teams, the 18-56 Wizards.
On Tuesday night, the Heat were beaten 102-90 at Cleveland against James' former team, the NBA-worst Cavaliers.
"I take a loss hard, no matter who it's against," James said before facing Washington. "I don't like to lose — especially when you know we could have done things better."
He skipped pregame introductions at Cleveland, but was on the court Wednesday when his name was announced — and was greeted by boos.
Those only got louder when he was whistled for a technical foul for talking to an official after getting fouled on a breakaway in the fourth quarter.
That was nothing compared to the brouhaha that came with 8:48 remaining in the first half — and with Washington actually ahead, 37-36.
The 6-foot-4 Wall moved out to play tight defense on 7-3 center Ilgauskas near the 3-point arc. While protecting the ball, Ilgauskas appeared to elbow Wall in the face at least once. Wall responded by swinging his right hand at Ilgauskas.
As officials went to intervene, Wizards center JaVale McGee arrived to separate Wall and Ilgauskas and was pushed away by Heat backup forward Howard. At the same time, Wizards coach Flip Saunders left the sideline and stepped on the court to try to pull away McGee, then began yelling at Howard.
The game was delayed by more than 10 minutes while officials huddled around a TV to watch replays. Eventually, Wall and Ilgauskas each was assessed a flagrant foul-2 and ejected. Howard was called for a technical foul and ejected for escalation; McGee was called for a technical but allowed to stay in the game.
Wall high-fived fans as he walked from the court to the home locker room, ejected for the second time from an NBA game. It also happened Feb. 4, when he was called for two technical fouls in a loss to the Orlando Magic.
On Wednesday, Wall had two points — leaving him five shy of becoming Washington's first rookie with 1,000 since 1994-95 — and five assists in 15 minutes. Ilgauskas had two points in 2 minutes, while Howard was scoreless.
Without Wall, Washington allowed Miami to lead 63-52 at halftime. Wade led the way with 22 points, shooting 7 of 8 on field goals, 8 of 9 on free throws.
NOTES: Asked who he thinks is the favorite for NBA MVP, James replied: "I think Derrick Rose definitely is the leader — what he's done for that team, with all the injuries they've had. Them being first in the Eastern Conference. He's playing some very good basketball. I thought at one point Dirk (Nowitzki) was, but he got hurt." ... Heat F Mike Miller sat out a second consecutive game with a bruised left knee. "He's making progress," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's feeling better than he did yesterday. It's starting to calm down a little bit. We'll see how he feels tomorrow." ... Wizards F Andray Blatche entered as a substitute in the first quarter and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. He missed the previous 10 games after straining his right shoulder against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 8. ... Howard, who used to play for Washington, also was involved in a flare-up between the Wizards and Heat in November. In that game, Washington's Hilton Armstrong flagrantly fouled Miami's Joel Anthony. Howard then pushed Armstrong in the back, and they both were ejected. ... Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was in the crowd.