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After being outscored by 10 points in the first quarter, an incredibly short-handed Washington Wizards stepped up at home, outscored the Miami Heat 42-29 in the second quarter, and controlled the 4th quarter for a 123-105 win.
Inactive for the Wizards today were John Wall, Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner, CJ Miles and Davis Bertans. Their starting lineup was Isaiah Thomas and Gary Payton II at guard, Troy Brown Jr. and Johnathan Williams at forward, and Ian Mahinmi at center.
Here’s the Washington Post reporting:
Although seven players were inactive Monday night as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference came to play, the Wizards rolled past the Miami Heat, 123-105. And the final score doesn’t begin to tell the story of a bizarre yet delightful night.
The Wizards’ trio of Ian Mahinmi, Jordan McRae and rookie Garrison Mathews — the least likely Big Three — played like stars. Mahinmi made his first seven shots and scored a career-high 25 points. Mathews poured in 28 points — including a remarkable 20 in the second quarter alone — on 6-for-9 shooting overall and 4-for-7 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, by far the best night of his young professional career. And McRae finished with a season-high 29 points and eight assists, the most he has ever had.
Although Miami (24-9) had a healthy team led by Jimmy Butler, who finished with 27 points, and a large contingent of fans who periodically started “Let’s Go Heat!” chants, the Wizards (10-22) closed the decade with one of their most shocking wins of the season.
Mahinmi shot 10 for 11. And McRae shot 9 for 14, including 6 of 8 three-pointers, for his 29 points in 35 minutes off the bench.
After the game, Mahinmi had this to say: “It’s huge, it’s huge. This is part of building character. When you’re down and you have a lot of injuries and stuff going on and not going your way… To have the toughness of a young player to come out and step up, make big plays, be aggressive, make the right read, play good defense and give everything you have is huge. All of our young guys are taking tremendous advantage of their opportunity, so it’s good. There’s a lot of stuff not going our way, but I’m very proud of what everyone is doing: Isaac Bonga, Scho [Admiral Schofield], Gary [Gary Payton II], obviously Garrison [Mathews] tonight, Johnathan [Williams] and Troy [Brown Jr.]. It’s great.”
It was a magical day for D.C. If you’re a Wizards fan and don’t have New Year’s Eve plans, staying home and watching a replay of this game isn’t the worst way to bring in the new year.