The Miami Heat haven't lost three straight regular-season games since Jan. 10-13, 2011, a streak they'll try to preserve when they travel to Washington to face the Wizards on Wednesday. The Heat have won 22 straight games against Southeast Division opponents and can tie the NBA record set by Boston in 1961 with a win over Washington. The Wizards have scuffled a bit since the start of the new year but are coming off an impressive 102-88 win at Chicago on Monday.
The Heat have stumbled into their six-game road trip with losses at New York (102-92) and Brooklyn (104-95 in double overtime), and they're a bit short-handed with three starters battling injuries. Forward Shane Battier (quad) and star guard Dwyane Wade (knees) are considered probable against Washington, but guard Mario Chalmers (Achilles) is not expected to play. "We're a no-excuse team, but right now we have three starters that didn't play," Heat star LeBron James told reporters after the loss to the Nets. "Even though we've got a lot of depth, it's hard to make up for three starters being out." Miami has won four straight meetings with Washington, including a 103-93 home victory in the first contest this season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, SunSports (Miami), CSN Washington
ABOUT THE HEAT (27-10): Miami has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference but has been vulnerable away from home with an 11-7 road record - including a 7-6 mark against conference foes. The Heat's brief losing streak has come in spite of James topping 30 points in four consecutive games, three shy of his own franchise record set last February. Miami certainly needs Wade in the lineup not only for his offense, but also to help defend Washington's strong backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (17-19): Washington actually has been better on the road (10-10) than at home (7-9) and has dropped its last four games - and seven of its last eight - on its home court. Still, the Wizards are tied for fifth in the weak Eastern Conference, and they have enough talent to stick as a playoff team. Wall is averaging career highs in points (19.6) and assists (8.6), and Beal (17.3 points) and Trevor Ariza (14.4 points, 6.1 rebounds) are having solid campaigns.
1. James has scored in double figures in 531 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak in NBA history.
2. Wizards F Trevor Booker needs two rebounds to reach 1,000 in his career, and Battier's next rebound will be No. 4,000 of his career.
3. Miami has won 49 of its last 51 games when hitting 10 or more 3-pointers, but the two losses came this season.
PREDICTION: Heat 102, Wizards 97