The Miami Heat seem to have the makings of all three, even though they're starting two rookies on a team that last year went 15-67.
The Heat beat the Wizards on Tuesday night for the second time in five days. Dwyane Wade scored 19 points, leading six players in double figures in a 94-87 victory.
"We would love to have a game like this where everybody is in double figures all across the board," said Wade, who also had 10 assists, six rebounds and five turnovers despite rolling his ankle Sunday against Toronto. "That means a great team. That's kind of how the Lakers are, they're a great team and all the guys are solid across the board so Kobe (Bryant) doesn't have to do that much this year. That's what we want to do."
OK, it might be a bit precocious to mention the Heat next to the Lakers -- Miami is only a game above .500 -- but it might soon be time to start comparing this year's Wizards to last year's Heat. Washington is 1-7, its worst start since 1999, and Jordan essentially said afterward that only so much could be expected from a team relying heavily on youth because of long-term injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood and a sore knee that has Arenas' backup, Antonio Daniels, on the bench.
"This team is built a certain way, fellows," Jordan said. "This team is built for Gilbert Arenas to lead us. This team is built for our All-Star forwards to carry the wings for us, and for Brendan Haywood to have a career year manning the middle for us. We don't have those things.
"And this team, you're asking people to do things that they're not capable of doing. They're not capable of carrying the load for us like a Dwyane Wade, like a Gilbert Arenas. You've got young guys who aren't going to make veteran plays night-in and night-out. You put all those things together, and to be in the game is a credit to everybody in this organization right now. You've got to stay positive, but you've got to be realistic about things."
Antawn Jamison (25) and Caron Butler (21) had 46 of the 59 points scored by the Wizards starters. Nick Young added 12 points off the bench, but his four turnovers included a bad pass in the final minute that ended Washington's attempt to comeback from a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
"I think guys are not playing smart in certain situations of the game," Jamison said. "We got the playing-hard part down. We played hard tonight, but we just didn't get the job done."
The Heat shot only 6-for-16 in the final period, but they held the Wizards to 7-for-20 shooting to finish off a rare away win. Miami entered the game 4-1 at home and 1-4 on the road.
"What I liked the most was we went six straight minutes in the fourth quarter without a field goal," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We went through a drought, and that's happened to us on the road, but somehow we were able to find a way to dig out some possessions defensively to be able to secure the win."
The Heat routed the Wizards 97-77 in Miami on Friday by pulling away in the third quarter. They threaten to do the same on Tuesday, opening the second half with a 12-0 spurt.
But Washington chiseled away at the lead and cut the deficit to three on Jamison's putback with 2:04 left in the game and would have cut the lead to one had Jamison hit a jumper on the next possession. Instead, the Heat rebounded and got lucky at the other end when Wade's pass, broken up by Butler, ended up in the hands of Shawn Marion, who put in the garbage basket to restore the five-point lead.
That basket was unusual for the Heat because it came without an assist. They had 27 on 36 field goals.
"I thought the ball movement," Spoelstra said, "was sensational."
Notes: Daniels missed his second straight game and third out of four. He will also sit out Wednesday's game at Atlanta. ... Jordan said G DeShawn Stevenson has been battling a "nerve-hamstring" problem since preseason. "It's going to bother him for a long time," Jordan said. "It's a nerve situation and it's going to come and go." Stevenson has played in 258 straight games, the NBA's second-longest active streak. ... Marion played without a face mask for the first time since breaking his nose in a Nov. 1 loss at Charlotte.