MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic sat out almost the entire third quarter after picking up his fourth foul, and that’s when the Miami Heat saw control of yet another game start to slip away.
Dragic made sure that was a temporary problem.
He scored 13 of his season-high 34 points in the fourth quarter, and Miami beat the Washington Wizards 112-101 to snap a five-game losing streak.
“We want him to make a lot of plays for our team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We have great confidence in him. I think he’s really comfortable right now and we want to keep him in this place. He’s driving so much of what we’re doing right now offensively.”
Dragic made 14 of 23 shots, helping Miami kick off a six-game homestand with a win. The Heat outscored Washington by 26 points when he was on the floor, and were outscored by 15 when he was on the bench.
“We had a meeting and said this is our chance,” Dragic said. “We go on a run, we put together some good games and win a couple in a row, this is a big opportunity for us to show we can play.”
Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and 16 rebounds and James Johnson scored 14 off the bench for Miami, which won for only the third time in 11 games at home.
John Wall scored 30 points and Bradley Beal added 29 for Washington, which is 0-2 against Miami this season.
“It’s just a tough loss for us because we battled hard throughout the game,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “A couple breaks here and there we probably could have won the game.”
Miami led 59-53 at the half, after making 10 consecutive shots late in the second quarter. Dragic went 4 for 4 in that stretch, plus assisted on two others.
But he picked up his third foul — a call he didn’t like — with 38 seconds left in the half, then got his fourth early in the third quarter.
When he went to the bench, Miami was up nine. But a 23-7 Wizards run later in the third gave Washington a five-point edge, and it was a one-point game going into the fourth when Dragic returned.
“He got a lot of easy looks,” Beal said. “We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do with him. … I have to give credit where it is due. He was shooting the ball well and he played well tonight.”
Wizards: Beal made two 3-pointers, giving him 496 in his career. He’s about to become the third Wizards player to make 500 3’s, joining Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison. … Washington plans to evaluate F Ian Mahinmi (right knee) in the coming days. Mahinmi has missed 22 of the Wizards’ 23 games.
Heat: Dragic’s 34 were a high for his Heat tenue. … James Johnson (right shoulder) returned after sitting out four games. Luke Babbitt (right hip) was cleared to return, but did not play. Dion Waiters (groin) remains out.
Heat forward Justise Winslow missed his 16th game with a sore left wrist. “He’s getting better. He’s doing more court work each day,” Spoelstra said.
BEAL AND WALL
In four games where the Wizards didn’t have both Beal and Wall, they averaged 94 points. In 19 games with both in the lineup, they’ve averaged 106.
Wizards: Host Charlotte on Wednesday, and will wear “Stars and Stripes” military appreciation jerseys.
Heat: Host Indiana on Wednesday, after beating the Pacers twice in Miami last season — both in overtime.
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