In what has become the norm this season, the Wizards rebounded from a terrible loss on Monday with a remarkable 106-92 win on Tuesday in Portland.
A night after scoring 11 points on 4 of 15 shooting in the Wizards’ 47 point loss to Utah, Bradley Beal responded by scoring 51 points and playing the entire second half to help ensure Washington picked up a win on the second night of a back-to-back in Portland.
He got a big boost from Washington’s bench, which outscored Portland’s 34-13. Kelly Oubre and Mike Scott both had efficient nights scoring the ball and Tomas Satoransky continued his run of solid, steady play off the bench.
The strong games from Beal and the bench helped Washington overcome rough ones from Washington’s starting frontcourt. Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat combined to go just 4 of 24 from the field.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know whether to enjoy the glory of this Wizards’ win or get confounded about how a team can go from one of the worst losses in franchise history to one of the most remarkable performances in franchise history in 24 hours, but in times like this, it’s good to rely on the words of a wise man who’s been there before:
Don’t get too high, don’t get too low!— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) December 5, 2017
Bradley Beal gets his groove back in a big way
It’s been rough for Beal the past few games, dealing with more responsibilities on the offensive end while also playing through a facial contusion that’s thrown off his vision. Tonight, he got out of that funk by getting back to the basics. Instead of trying to set up teammates tonight, he got the ball to the player who needed it most: Bradley Beal.
He started hot with 12 points in the first quarter and just kept riding his hot hand throughout the game. It wasn’t like there was any one play or gimmick the team was exploiting to get him open looks, he just had everything working tonight — the step-backs, the hesitation moves, the floaters — everything was falling.
Bradley Beal has 38 points through three quarters, including this unstoppable stepback J.— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) December 6, 2017
LIVE STREAM: https://t.co/Uvk3ibqA3C pic.twitter.com/XPq7RPPbVo
The most encouraging part of Beal’s performance was how he closed things out. He took a lot of criticism for how he mismanaged the last few minutes of the Wizards’ last game in Portland, but this time around, he found a better balance between looking for his shot late in the game and letting others try to make something happen. As a result, both he and the rest of the team were able to finish on a high note instead of settling for bad shots on tired legs.
“I definitely couldn’t have did it without my guys.”@RealDealBeal23 after his career-high 51 points. #PlayersOnly pic.twitter.com/nBlrHdbX2L— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 6, 2017
Washington dominates the turnover battle
After Monday’s defensive disaster, you knew Washington was going to come out with more energy on that end, the question was, would they use it play more focused or more aggressive? It didn’t take long for them to establish it would be a night where they were going to be aggressive crashing passing lanes to force turnovers and disrupt Portland’s offensive rhythm.
Portland was able to crack the defense at times and get nice looks, but on the whole, the strategy worked to Washington’s advantage. They got 12 steals in the first half alone, and the energy carried over to the offensive end where they were snatched several loose ball offensive rebounds that led to extra opportunities. When it was all said and done, Washington and Portland’s shooting percentages weren’t all that different, but the 11 extra shots the Wizards attempted made the difference.
- Marcin Gortat was the only Wizard who had more than three assists in the game.
- Minutes watch: Jodie Meeks played a season-low 4:55 in this one, but it’s hard to see this becoming a trend unless you think Scott Brooks is going to start playing Beal 43 minutes per game from here out.
- This gets weirder when you consider that Beal didn’t cross the 50 point threshold until it was December 6 in the Eastern Time Zone.
This is just crazy.— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 6, 2017
December 6, 1972: Phil Chenier 53 points
December 6, 2016: John Wall 52 points
December 5, 2017: Bradley Beal 51 points#WizBlazers #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/rT7HqKcxPu
- Otto Porter was ice cold from the field in this one, but he did have a pretty block early in the game.
Otto Porter said GET OUT. pic.twitter.com/YP5zFfQheF— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) December 6, 2017
Next up: The Wizards continue their road trip on Thursday as they face the Suns at 9 p.m. Washington will be looking to avenge last month’s loss at home.