- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 8, 2017

Washington knows one thing: It will not be playing the Miami Heat in the playoffs. For that, the Wizard are thankful.

Miami has the personnel construction that gives the Wizards problems. Attacking guards, one of the league’s best big men and a slower pace. The Wizards are 0-3 against the Heat this season. The third loss, 106-103 on Saturday, came after Miami played the night before in Toronto. It lost a two-point game there, but managed to come to Washington and win.

The upshot for the Wizards is that the Heat is just outside of the playoffs at the end of Saturday’s play.

Three points from Saturday night:

Oubre bad, good, bad. Otto Porter sat out of the game because of back spasms. Kelly Oubre, who has been playing well the last two weeks after an extended drought, started in his place. He had little influence in the first half, going scoreless on three shots from the field. Scoring is the least effective way to measure Oubre’s impact, but there it was. He also committed two fouls. The second half was significantly better. He scored 12 points on six shots. On the run, Oubre made a nice catch in traffic and finished with his much-preferred left hand. He hassled Heat point guard Goran Dragic. But, with 11 seconds to play, he made the gaffe of the evening. Washington trailed 104-103 and had the ball. Oubre was slotted to inbound the ball, a job usually manned by Porter. He misread how the defense was playing John Wall — it was on on the outside, forcing Wall back in — and threw the ball into the space Wall just left. Miami grabbed it and Wall was forced to foul. Two free throws from Josh Richardson pushed Miami’s lead two three.

Out-of-timeout oddities. Twice late on Saturday Washington came out of a timeout and botched the possession. The first time was with 3:02 to play. The Wizards didn’t get a shot off. Markieff Morris, who had his best game in a month, turned the ball over trying to conjure up a shot at the end of the play. The other was the final possession of the game. Washington was down three, its action and screen-setting was soft, Bradley Beal tried to maneuver around Hassan Whiteside on a switch, but instead had his 3-point attempt blocked. “A play we drew up, nobody really got open, including myself,” Beal said.

Just two to go. If Washington wants to win 50 games, it has to win at Detroit and at Miami to close the season. At this point, it is locked into the No. 3 or 4 seed. More than likely, it will be the No. 4 seed since it trails Toronto by a game and the Raptors hold the playoff position tiebreaker. Hovering in the No. 5 spot are the Atlanta Hawks, a matchup that would suit Wizards well. In the six spot are the Milwaukee Bucks. That would likely be a much more difficult first-round series for Washington. Beal is convinced after 80 games that how Washington is playing at the moment will not be sufficient in the playoffs. “We just got to realize if we play like this we’re going to get swept,” Beal said. “Plain and simple.”

• Todd Dybas can be reached at tdybas@washingtontimes.com.

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