Butler, Heat await Beal, Wizards

NBA

Miami Heat point forward Justise Winslow is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the visiting Washington Wizards.

Winslow, a versatile standout who is averaging 12.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, played 31 minutes in Miami’s 112-93 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday but is fighting a lower back strain.

His primary backup, point guard Goran Dragic, is out Friday and will miss his third straight game due to a groin injury. He is second on the team in scoring (15.9) and assists (5.0).

Miami has also gotten nothing this season out of guard Dion Waiters (two suspensions) and little from forward James Johnson (conditioning issues).

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was also missing on Wednesday as his wife, Nikki, delivered their second child, Dante Nicholas Spoelstra.

Dan Craig, 37, ran the Heat during the loss to Boston.

“It’s a big adjustment,” Craig said of his temporary role. “I’m just trying to juggle all the dynamics.”

Miami is rolling at 15-6, tied for third place in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are 8-0 at home, joining the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers as the only teams undefeated so far this season in their own arenas.

Things have not been as good for the Wizards, who are 7-13 overall and 3-8 on the road.

The Wizards knocked off the 76ers on Thursday night, 119-113, forcing 21 turnovers and converting them into 30 points.

David Bertans, Washington’s stretch four, scored 19 of his season-high 25 points in the second quarter. In that pivotal second period, Bertans scored 12 straight Washington points, keying a 16-2 run.

“It was a kind of a punch in the face for (the 76ers),” Bertans said of his hot shooting. That included 8-for-8 from the floor and 6-for-6 on 3-pointers in the first half.

The Wizards also got 27 points from rookie forward Rui Hachimura and 26 points and 10 rebounds from star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

That was enough to snap Washington’s three-game losing streak and provide a ray of sunshine in a season full of dark injury clouds. All-Star point guard John Wall will not play this season following Achilles tendon surgery. His replacement, explosive guard Isaiah Thomas, was a late scratch on Thursday due to a calf injury.

The Wizards are also without starting center Thomas Bryant (right foot), shooting guard Jordan McRae (right-hand surgery) and wing C.J. Miles (surgery on left wrist).

There was good news for the Wizards on the injury front Thursday. Ian Mahinmi (right Achilles) made his season debut against the76ers and posted seven points and five rebounds. Moritz Wagner (left ankle) had five points and 11 rebounds after missing two games.

Beal leads Washington in points (28.6 per game) and assists (7.0 per game). Bryant leads the Wizards in rebounds (8.5).

Center Bam Adebayo leads Miami in rebounds (10.2) and blocks (1.4). Wing Jimmy Butler leads Miami in scoring (20.1), assists (6.5) and steals (2.4). Butler’s matchup with Beal is the most high-profile duel of this game.

Butler had a triple-double on Tuesday at the Toronto Raptors, posting 22 points, 13rebounds and 12 assists.

“When it’s closing time,” Spoelstra said, “Jimmy makes whatever play is needed.”

–Field Level Media

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