WASHINGTON (AP) - LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh watched and didn't seem to care. The final game of the regular season was meaningless, and the Miami Heat played like it.
Without their Big Three, the Heat suffered their worst defeat of 2011-2012 with a 104-70 loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
With their first playoff game just two days away, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra rested the boldface names and started Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, Eddy Curry, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers. Only Chalmers usually starts, and Curry started for the first time in more than four years.
The Heat are locked into the Eastern Conference's second playoff spot and open the postseason Saturday against the New York Knicks.
Miami was blown out early. Washington led by 25 at halftime and by as many as 38, sending the Heat to their biggest loss since Jan. 20, 2010.
``If we land safely and the plane touches down in Miami, it's a victory,' Battier said. ``That was a nasty game. Luckily no one was injured, seriously, that's what you take away from this game.'
The Heat had only two players in double figures: Norris Cole with 14 and Curry with 10.
``Obviously we're not gonna put too much weight into this game. We don't think it'll have too much bearing on the second season,' Spoelstra said.
``This will be a great first-round matchup. The way the season's been we couldn't expect anything other than to play after a day. We don't need more than that. We're in the same place the Knicks are in,' Spoelstra said.
``They're coming off a game as well, so everybody's on a fair fighting field right now. Let's tip it off.'
The Wizards started the season 2-15 and fired coach Flip Saunders, replacing him with Randy Wittman. Washington closed with its first six-game win streak since Nov. 11-21, 2007. Three of the six wins were against the East's top two teams: one against Chicago and two over Miami.
``This was a real satisfying way to come down the stretch for this team,' Wittman said.
Mo Evans had a season-high 18 points, Nene and Kevin Seraphin each scored 15, and John Wall had seven points and 12 assists for the Wizards.
Washington went on a 27-11 run to take a 33-18 lead early in the second quarter and increased it to 57-32 at halftime. It was the Wizards' biggest win since Nov. 11, 2005.
On Tuesday, Spoelstra also rested James, Wade and Bosh in a 78-66 loss at Boston.
Spoelstra had a problem that Wittman wishes he had. Wittman has no assurances from team president Ernie Grunfeld, whose contract was extended earlier this week, that he'll return as coach - despite the impressive stretch to end the season.
``I'm not an idiot. Any time you lose a job you're disappointed. I think anybody doesn't want to lose a job or look elsewhere for a job,' Wittman said. ``I'll coach somewhere.'
In January, the Wizards were a national punch line. In March, they traded JaVale McGee and Nick Young and acquired Nene. With the Brazilian in the lineup, Washington was 7-4.
Wall said that he liked the new tenor of the team.
``We had a lot of jokes going around the locker room. It's more serious about everything, and we're acting more like a team,' Wall said.
NOTES: Washington G Jordan Crawford missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. ... Curry's last came on March 7, 2008, when he played for New York. ... Washington F Andray Blatche, who didn't play after March 17 to improve his conditioning, said he's lost 12 pounds and admitted he regretted allowing the negative crowd reaction bother him. He let ``the boos get myself down, messing with my head and not being able to go out and work as hard as I could,' Blatche said.
The Associated Press News Service
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