NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 21st (All times eastern)
Washington Wizards (16-46) at Miami Heat (45-17), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Still pressing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat will get back to work on Saturday by hosting the lowly Washington Wizards.
The Heat closed the gap on top-seeded Chicago Thursday when LeBron James made sure the Bulls' vaunted depth didn't play a factor in this late-season duel of the East's best.
James scored 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out six assists, while Dwyane Wade added 18 points and five assists as Miami downed Chicago, 83-72.
Mario Chalmers helped out with 16 points, as Miami did just enough offensively and took advantage of Derrick Rose's absence to move within one game in the loss column of the Bulls for the East's top record.
The Heat came out on top despite missing Chris Bosh for a second straight game. The big man sat out as a precautionary measure with "minor bumps and bruises."
"Typical Eastern Conference basketball game in late April," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Everybody who was out there obviously was competing."
Miami improved to an impressive 27-4 at home on the season while the holding the Bulls to a season-low 72 points.
With the Wizards on tap tonight it's quite possible that Wade is the one who gets the rest. In Miami's last eight games, Spoelstra has played to the schedule, sitting the banged-up Wade four times against teams with losing records while dressing the superstar against potential playoff teams.
Wade has missed a total of 14 games this season with a host of injuries and the Heat have complied a 13-1 mark without their All-Star.
The Wizards, meanwhile, played spoiler on Wednesday when Jordan Crawford tied a season-high with 32 points as Washington defeated the playoff-hopeful Bucks, 121-112.
Nene returned to the lineup after a 10-game absence due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot and scored 14 points in the win. John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists and Kevin Seraphin also scored 14 for the Wizards, who were coming off a Monday victory over the Bulls.
"We want to be in the hunt, there's no question about that, but we're not, let's cause some grief at least coming down the stretch," Washington head coach Randy Wittman said of his team playing spoiler in the final few games of the season.
Miami has won six straight and 12 of its last 13 against the Wizards.
04/21 10:36:15 ET