Everything was going wrong for the Washington Wizards. They were facing their biggest deficit of the night early in the fourth quarter and were showing signs of unraveling.
And then John Wall restored order.
Wall scored 27 points, Bradley Beal had 26 and the Wizards overcame a dreadful third quarter to beat Miami 102-93 on Wednesday night — finishing the game on a 29-13 run that started when their point guard returned to the game with 9:47 left.
"It's all about the guys doing a little bit more," Washington coach Scott Brooks said.
Wall didn't have a great shooting night — 9 for 21 — but he was dazzling. Behind-the-back dribbles to freeze defenders on the way to a layup, tapping the ball through Hassan Whiteside's legs to start a fast break, and getting a chasedown block of Tyler Johnson's dunk try in the final minutes were just some of the entries on Wall's highlight reel.
"We didn't get too rattled," Beal said. "We stayed poised and stayed together as a team."
Markieff Morris scored 15 points and Otto Porter Jr. finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards.
Goran Dragic scored 21 points for Miami. Dion Waiters finished with 19, Tyler Johnson had 15 and Hassan Whiteside scored 14 points and grabbed 21 rebounds for the Heat, who were 4-0 against the Wizards last season.
Miami led by seven early in the fourth, but lost in large part because of 17 turnovers that led to 26 Washington points. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wasn't thrilled about free-throw discrepancies — Beal was 13 for 14 and the Wizards were 29 for 31, while Miami was 16 for 19 — but insisted afterward that giving the ball away is a bigger problem.
"We can't control officiating and obviously that got to us at the end," Spoelstra said. "That's the way it's always going to be until we earn it. We haven't earned anything yet. But we can control our decisions and responsibility with the ball. That has probably been more damaging than anything in our losses, our inability to take care of the basketball."
Beal put the game away with four free throws with 1:23 left, the first one coming after Johnson got called for a technical and the next three after getting hit by Waiters on a 3-point try.
Down by as many as 13 in the first half, the Heat found their defense in the third quarter.
Washington missed its first nine shots after intermission, Miami outscored the Wizards 25-10 in the third and the Heat took a 74-71 lead into the final 12 minutes — only to the game slip away.
"Guys are upset," Whiteside said.