The Washington Wizards have had next to no success so far this season, but they've been more than able to hold their own in recent meetings with the mighty Miami Heat.
Behind 22 points from Jordan Crawford and a 16-point, 10-rebound effort out of Kevin Seraphin, the Wizards registered only their second victory of the campaign with a shocking 105-101 decision over the defending world champions at the Verizon Center, despite a triple-double from LeBron James.
A.J. Price added 14 points and Martell Webster scored 13 off the bench for Washington, which entered the matchup with a league-worst 1-13 record but have now won two of three following an 0-12 start.
"It feels good to pull out a win, to know that all the hard work is finally coming through," said Crawford.
The triumph was also the third straight for the Wizards over Miami dating back to the latter portion of last season.
James racked up game highs of 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, but the Heat never held a lead after the 5:09 mark of the first quarter in seeing a six-game win streak come to an end.
Dwyane Wade finished with 24 points in defeat for Miami, with Chris Bosh putting up 20 points and 12 rebounds in the setback.
The Heat got little production from their reserves, however, with Crawford, Seraphin and Webster leading a Washington second unit that outscored Miami's by a 64-31 margin on the night.
Miami did open the contest with a 7-2 run and owned a slim 16-15 edge after Wade sank two free throws just past the midway mark of the first quarter. Seraphin threw down a dunk on the other end and Price hit a fadeaway jumper shortly thereafter, however, and the Wizards would not trail again.
Washington built a 30-25 lead after one quarter, with Price netting nine points, and put together a 9-0 spurt after Miami had knotted the score at 32-32 early in the second period. Crawford capped the flurry with a running jump shot and tallied five points during that stretch.
The differential grew as high as 10 in the first half, with a Webster 3- pointer putting the Wizards up by a 54-44 count with just over four minutes remaining before intermission, and Washington shot an impressive 58.3 percent from the field in taking a 60-54 advantage into the break.
"We put a great game plan (together), first of all," said Crawford. "We did a great job of switching some things up and had Miami guessing a little bit."
Miami trailed by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, but began to cut into the deficit by the end of the frame. A James putback brought the Heat within 82-78 at the conclusion of the session, and a Bosh layup with 6:48 to go tied the game at 88-88.
Washington would not wilt down the stretch, though, with Webster ending a 5-1 sequence with a long-range basket for a 93-89 lead with six minutes to go. The margin would grow to five points less than two minutes later, when Seraphin scored off a Crawford feed to make it a 97-92 game.
Crawford made 1-of-2 foul shots after James misfired on a trey attempt to put the Wizards ahead 102-99 with 10.3 seconds later, but James quickly scored and the Heat immediately fouled Crawford with 5.9 seconds on the clock. He calmly drained both bonus shots, however, to again put Miami in a 3-point hole.
The Heat got James loose for an open 3-point attempt in the final seconds, but the reigning MVP missed the mark for a chance to force overtime.
"I think we came out and didn't have a sense of urgency from the start. We understand that every team we play is going to play their best," said James. "We understand teams are going to play better when they play against us. They're up for it and we have to be for teams as well."