NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 28th (All times eastern)
Washington Wizards (9-35) at Miami Heat (24-19), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat conclude a four-game homestand with this evening's clash with the Washington Wizards at AmericanAirlines Arena.
After opening the residency with a 15-point loss to defending world champion Boston on January 21, Miami has posted key victories over fellow Southeast Division members Orlando and Atlanta to improve to a season-best five games over the .500 mark (24-19).
The Heat used dominating defense to cruise to a 95-79 win over the Hawks on Monday. Miami limited Atlanta to a franchise-low 27 first-half points and did not allow a field goal for a nearly 13 1/2-minute stretch before the break. The Hawks shot a poor 38 percent from the floor for the game.
Dwyane Wade did his part as well, as the All-Star Miami guard delivered 35 points on 13-of-19 shooting in the win. Daequan Cook added 16 points off the bench for the Heat.
Miami played Monday's tilt without forward Shawn Marion, who has sat out three of the team's last four games with a strained left groin. In addition, rookie standout Michael Beasley missed the entire second half of the Atlanta game after banging knees with the Hawks' Josh Smith.
Beasley is expected to play tonight, but Marion will likely rest another game for the Heat, who are 14-7 in South Beach this season.
The Wizards have had their share of injuries in what's been a disastrous 2008-09 campaign. Star guard Gilbert Arenas has yet to play this season after undergoing knee surgery in September, while starting center Brendan Haywood also hasn't been available this year due to surgery on his right wrist.
Washington suffered another tough blow in Monday's 103-87 home loss to Phoenix, as center Andray Blatche sprained his left knee during the game and will be sidelined between 2-to-4 weeks. The fourth-year pro is averaging career bests of 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds on the year.
The Wizards fell to a league-worst 9-35 with Monday's defeat, the team's third in a row and 10th in its last 12 games. Caron Butler netted 28 points for Washington, while Antawn Jamison amassed 27 points and 13 rebounds in a losing cause.
Washington is an unwanted 3-19 on the road this season and will be playing the first of back-to-back away tests before embarking on a five-game homestand. The Wizards will visit Philadelphia on Friday.
The Wizards swept the four-game regular-season series between these divisional foes last year, but Miami has taken both matchups so far in 2008-09. Since the start of the 2003-04 season, the Heat are 17-5 overall against Washington and 9-2 at AmericanAirlines Arena over that stretch.
01/28 10:25:55 ET