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Miami Heat Recovers in Victory Over Washington Wizards

( – It’s too early to panic for the Miami Heat, as they try to stop a two-game slide and even their season record in Sunday’s home matchup with the Washington Wizards at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

The two-time champion Heat opened defense of their title with a win against the Chicago Bulls, then headed to Philadelphia the following night, only to suffer a 114-110 loss. The Heat trailed 19-0 from the jump before rallying to take the lead against the Sixers, but were outscored 15-3 at the end of the game.

Miami then faced one of the East’s top teams in Brooklyn on Friday and suffered a 101-100 loss to Paul Pierce and company. Pierce and Joe Johnson scored 19 points apiece and Kevin Garnett had six points and seven rebounds in less than 26 minutes.

LeBron James led the Heat with a game-high 26 points, while Dwyane Wade returned to the lineup after resting in Philly to post 21 points. Chris Bosh scored 17 points and Miami shot 47.8 percent for the game, including 7-of-14 from 3-point territory.

The Nets, who had an early 11-3 lead, used an 18-2 run to grab a 71-55 cushion with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter. Miami made a valiant effort with a 33-23 advantage in the fourth stanza.

“We’ve dealt with this before. This story line continues,” Wade said of the team’s struggles. “At the end of the day, we want to play better. We would love to play better, obviously the start, the first and the third, but we had a chance to win the game. We have to find a way to pull it out.”

Brooklyn edged the Heat in rebounds, 40-30. The last time the Heat lost three in a row was  Jan. 10-13, 2011. After consecutive road games, Miami is slated to play five of six in south Florida.

Much like the Heat, the Wizards fell victim to the Sixers in Friday’s 109-102 setback at the Verizon Center. The 76ers erased a 12-point deficit in the third quarter and Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams hit a 3-pointer with 6:28 to play to give his team its first lead, which they would never relinquish, and spoil Washington’s home opener.

Wizards star John Wall scored 23 points in the first half, but was limited to three over the last 24 minutes.

“They scored 65 points in the second half, so we didn’t do a great job of finishing,” said Wall. “It’s embarrassing to lose your home opener when you had a great chance of doing it.”

Martell Webster had 13 points off the bench and his 3-pointer with 1:15 to play cut the Sixers lead to just three. Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat had 12 points apiece in defeat. No. 3 draft pick Otto Porter remained out for the Wizards because of a right hip flexor injury and is questionable Sunday. Center Nene missed Friday’s game with a strained left calf and could return against the Southeast Division-rival Heat.

Philadelphia owned the paint and scored 74 points inside.

The Wizards are 0-2 for a fourth straight season and were 0-12 to kick off the 2012-13 campaign. They lost three of four matchups with Miami a year ago and have dropped 15 of the last 19 matchups between the teams.

Washington has lost 15 of 19 and 17 of its last 22 at Miami.

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