The Miami Heat endured a total of two three-game losing streaks in their back-to-back championship seasons and one during the regular season. A visit from the winless Washington Wizards could help the Heat avoid another such skid Sunday night.
Miami is below .500 for the first time since losing its first game with LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010-11. The Heat (1-2) came up empty on a two-game road trip, with their rally from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter falling short in Friday's finale, a 101-100 loss to Brooklyn.
"What you've done in the past doesn't mean you can make it happen in the present, so we've just got to have a little more sense of urgency," said James, who had a team-best 26 points. "It's not doomsday right now. We're good, but we understand what we need to fix and correct."
Dwyane Wade scored 21 points after sitting out a 114-110 defeat in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team was trying to be "proactive" by giving some rest to their veteran guard, who had knee problems last season.
There are no indications that Miami will sit Wade for its attempt to avoid its first three-game slide since dropping three straight to Boston in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals. The Heat's last string of three consecutive regular-season defeats was Jan. 10-13, 2012, with all of those defeats on the road.
Miami will play five of its next six at home, where it opened the season with a 107-95 victory over Chicago on Tuesday. The Heat won by a combined 58 points in two visits from Washington (0-2) last season.
They've won three in a row overall against the Wizards, who are hoping to avoid another extended losing streak to open a season. Washington broke a franchise record last season by dropping its first 12 games after going 0-8 to begin 2011-12.
The Wizards have given up an average of 111.0 points this season and allowed both opponents to shoot at least 50.0 percent. Washington had a 12-point lead early in the second half Friday against Philadelphia but gave up 65 points in the final two quarters of a 109-102 loss.
"Commitment to ... playing defense. That's what it is. ... The thing they haven't learned, and I got to figure out a way," coach Randy Wittman said. "You could see it coming out of the locker room. You've got to respect the game, your opponent. ... Everything you get is `No, we're OK.' We're not OK. We're 0-2. We're not OK."
With 26 points, John Wall was the only Washington player with more than 13 on Friday. The Wizards point guard went 10 of 19 after going 8 for 21 in a 113-102 defeat to Detroit on Wednesday.
Wall missed the first 33 games and the initial three matchups with Miami last season because of an ailing knee. He had 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in his only meeting with the Heat in 2012-13, a 103-98 loss April 10.
From Elias: The 2-time defending champion Miami Heat have lost 2 straight games after winning their season opener. Why is a win Sunday vs the Wizards important? Only 5 of the 67 NBA Champions in league history have won a title after starting 1-3 or worse through 4 games. Nearly a quarter of them have won when starting 2-2.
RECORDS THROUGH 1st 4 GAMES - EVENTUAL NBA CHAMPIONS
>FROM ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU
The Heat have allowed at least 90 points in eight straight regular-season games dating back to last season, tied for the second-longest streak in the Big 3 Era (since 2010-11 season).
But their defensive numbers are actually BETTER than they were through three games last season.