Bradley Beal said all the right things after Friday’s loss to the Hornets. He talked about how the team has to be better and how the individual accolades don’t matter when the team is losing.
Beal’s night hit on all the tropes you usually see when a star player has a big night but his team still loses, except you rarely see a player perform that well and lose by that much. It was only the second time this season a player has scored at least 45 points and still lost by double digits. The other came last week when Lou Williams went for 45 but the shorthanded Clippers lost by 10 to the Timberwolves.
It was only the 40th time in NBA history a player has had at least 45 points on 60 percent shooting and 5 assists and still lost the game. Of those 40 games, only three came in games where the player’s team lost by double digits. One came in 1995 when Dana Barros scored 50 but the 76ers still lost to the Rockets (who went on to win the title that season) by 29. Another came in 1963 when Wilt Chamberlain scored 51 points and played all 48 minutes but the rest of the team combined to shoot under 40 percent in a loss to the Chicago Zephyrs. Beal’s game on Friday was the third entry into the record books.
Friday’s game clarified that running it back next season with the same group isn’t a recipe for success. Washington could get marginally better with improvements from Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr., but that may not be enough to offset declines from Trevor Ariza and Jeff Green.
More than that, it seems clear they need to overhaul things to address their defensive issues. Washington had a nice run defensively after Wall went down and the league tried to figure out how to poke holes in the new rotation, but since they cracked the code, the gates are wide open. Since the start of February, the Wizards are giving up 120.1 points per 100 possessions, the second-worst average in the league over that time. It’s hard for anyone, even a star like Beal, to score enough to overcome that every night.