The Washington Wizards can’t beat many teams, but they beat the best: LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Perhaps inspired by the courtside presence of Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Wizards doubled their victory total this season with a 105-101 win over the Heat Tuesday night in Washington, despite James’s triple-double of 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Jordan Crawford led Washington with 22 points, including three free throws in the final 11 seconds, while James missed a potentially tying 3-pointer with 3.9 to go.
While the reigning NBA champion Heat’s six-game winning streak ended, and they fell to 12-4, the Wizards improved to 2-13. They started the season 0-12, but have won two of their last three games.
On Tuesday, with a crowd of 17,761 — not, incidentally, a sellout — standing and screaming down the stretch, relishing that rare chance to witness a compelling game involving the Wizards, Kevin Seraphin contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds. He helped Washington outrebound Miami, 44-43.
Dwyane Wade scored 24 for the Heat, and Chris Bosh added 20 points and 12 rebounds. Miami made only 8 of 28 attempts on 3-pointers.
After trailing by as many as 12, Miami tied the game at 88 on Bosh’s reverse layup with 6 minutes 50 seconds left. But Crawford’s 15-footer put Washington ahead, 99-95, with a little more than 2½ minutes remaining.
With 18 seconds left, James wasted a chance to give the Heat the lead, clanking a 3-point attempt. Crawford’s free throw then made it 102-99, and he slapped his palms together vociferously. James made a shot in the lane to pull within 102-101, and Crawford added two free throws for a 104-101 edge with 6.9 seconds on the clock.
James then missed his last shot, another 3. Nene got the rebound, and tacked on a free throw.
Timberwolves 105, 76ers 88 — Josh Howard had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead visiting Minnesota.
Alexey Shved hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 for the Timberwolves, who raced to a 23-point lead in the first half.
Kevin Love had 6 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota on a night during which he was hardly needed to turn in his usual dominant double-double performance. Jose Barea came off the bench and finished with 11 points and 10 assists, and three other Minnesota reserves also reached double figures.
The Timberwolves made 11 of their first 19 3-point attempts after coming in shooting a woeful 27 percent from long range this season.
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 19 points.
Howard had his best game since joining the Timberwolves last month. He averaged 8.7 points last season in Utah, but needed a minor surgery on his left knee during the season. It’s the same knee in which he tore the ACL in 2010, an injury that slowed him for nearly two seasons.
Howard said the knee is feeling good now — and he looked great in 29 minutes against the Sixers, shooting 7 of 12 and making two 3-pointers.
Rockets 107, Lakers 105 — Toney Douglas had a season-high 22 points and Greg Smith added a career-best 21 to help Houston overcome a tough outing by James Harden and rally for a win over visiting Los Angeles.
The Lakers had a 13-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go. But Houston used two big runs, including a 9-2 spurt capped by a 3-pointer from Douglas to take its first lead of the game — 100-99 — with about 2½ minutes left.
Dwight Howard made three free throws after that, but a basket by Smith and four free throws by Houston put the Rockets back on top, 106-102. Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left to cut the lead to 1.
Bryant fouled Douglas and he made one of two free throws with 8.8 seconds left. The Lakers had a last chance, but Bryant missed a 3-point attempt before Metta World Peace missed a layup to give Houston the win.
Harden finished with 15 points, but entered the fourth quarter with just 8 points after shooting 2 of 18 through the first three quarters.
Bryant led the Lakers with 39 points and Howard had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Thunder 117, Nets 111 — Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists, and visiting Oklahoma City held off Brooklyn for its sixth straight victory.
Serge Ibaka added 18 points and Thabo Sefolosha 14 for the Thunder, who revved up the NBA’s No. 1 offense to surpass 100 points in a 10th straight game for the first time in 15 years. They beat the Nets for the seventh consecutive time, but had to work much harder for this win than they have lately.
Oklahoma City had won its last four by 25 points a game.
Deron Williams scored a season-high 34 points for the Nets, who had their six-game home winning streak snapped.
Grizzlies 108, Suns 98 — Zach Randolph had 38 points and 22 rebounds, setting season highs in both categories, to carry host Memphis down the stretch and in overtime past the Suns.
Quincy Pondexter had a season-high 16 points for Memphis, while Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay scored 14 apiece. Mike Conley had 11 points and five assists for the Grizzlies, but went 2 of 9 from the field. Gay shot 5 for 12.
Pacers 80, Bulls 76 — Paul George scored 34 points to lead Indiana to a win over host Chicago.
George got off to a quick start with 10 points in the first quarter and shot 14 for 25 in the game. He pulled down nine rebounds for the Pacers, who closed a 3-1 road swing.
Reserve Nate Robinson scored 19 points to lead the Bulls, who were looking to win three straight for the first time this season but couldn’t win the defensive battle against like-minded Indiana.