After a back-and-forth battle late in a game the Wizards had led most of the way, LeBron James's layup brought the Heat back to within two points in the closing moments of the fourth quarter.
But despite James and Dwyane Wade's best efforts, the Wizards used Kevin Seraphin's late bucket and Jordan Crawford's clutch free throws down the stretch to deliver the knockout blow. Crawford scored a team-high 22 points off the bench.
James finished with a triple-double of 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while Wade dropped in 24 points on the night.
Both teams came out firing in the first quarter, as the Heat and Wizards swapped leads in the first period. Eventually Wizards forward Chris Singleton, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds, helped Washington build the five-point lead it took into the second quarter.
The Wizards extended their lead to as many as 10 in the second quarter as Washington forward Martell Webster, who finished with 13 points off the bench, came to life in the second period.
After closing the gap to six at half, the Heat, led by Wade, closed to within four headed into the final period, but could not rally over the hump.