Washington (36-28) have seen their lead in the Southeast over Miami shrink to two games during this difficult run at Capital One Arena in which they played two of the three best teams in the league in defending NBA champions Golden State and current Eastern Conference leaders Toronto.
Indiana, classified as neither, are a team with a winning record, and they left the nation's capital with a 98-95 victory Sunday, turning back a late Wizards rally in which they nearly erased all of a 15-point deficit. Bradley Beal had a career-high 11 assists, but he missed two potential game-tying shots in the final minute along with Mike Scott, who missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
The season-high third straight loss dropped the Wizards to fifth overall in the Eastern Conference, which puts them in jeopardy of starting the playoffs on the road despite being potential division winners.
Miami (34-30) have won four of their last five after thumping Phoenix 125-103 on Monday night. Hassan Whiteside had 24 points and 14 rebounds to pace seven players in double figures as the Heat scored a season-high 29 fast-break points and shot 52.2 percent.
The recent surge has lifted the Heat into seventh in the Eastern Conference as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Milwaukee Bucks, whom they have beaten three times. The challenge for Miami is to end their road woes as they bring a six-game losing streak into the nation's capital
The teams have split their first two meetings this season and wrap up their series in Miami on Saturday.