Bradley Beal did everything he could. The All-Star scored 40 points to lead Washington but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome Kemba Walker (28 points) and the Hornets as the Wizards fell 116-110 to Charlotte on Friday night.
Everybody not named Bradley Beal started this game ice-cold for the Wizards. He scored 13 of Washington’s 26 points in the first quarter, but the Wizards found themselves in a quick double-digit 40-26 hole after one quarter.
Washington fell behind by 21 points in the second quarter and it looked like the wheels would fall off for an already shaky team. But the Wizards pulled within five thanks to an 18-4 run near the end of the first half.
The Wizards had about as bad of a start to the second half as they did in the first, with poor defensive possessions followed by poor shots on the offensive end. They quickly fell behind by 20, but once again, it was hot shooting from Beal that prevented this one from getting too out of hand.
With the Wizards down 95-78 after three quarters, Scott Brooks rolled with the hodgepodge lineup of Beal, Troy Brown, Jabari Parker, Sam Dekker, and Thomas Bryant to start the fourth quarter. Strangely enough, that crew delivered and trimmed the Charlotte lead to 6, 107-101. But back-to-back threes from Frank Kaminsky and Jeremy Lamb killed Washington’s comeback chances.
Good thing the Wizards had Bradley Beal tonight
The Wizards didn’t do much good in the first quarter tonight. But fortunately for Washington, Bradley Beal was able to carry the team early on. He came to play with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first quarter. The rest of the Wizards? They managed to shoot just 4-of-11 from the field in the period.
With the Wizards trailing by 21, it was Bradley Beal’s back-to-back three-pointers which sparked an 8-0 run to get Washington back in this one. Save for Beal, who scored 23 points in the half, and Jeff Green who was a perfect 4-of-4, they were the only two Washington players who could put the ball in the hole in the first half. Otherwise, this one would have been a lot uglier.
Beal was equally impressive with 17 second-half points and went the distance playing all 24 minutes and ending the evening with 40 points.
The Wizards fell to 29-40 on the season and as it stands, are 4.5 games out of the 8-seed with 13 games to play. They’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs but... they’re eliminated from the playoffs. Washington sits in 11th place and is 2.5 games back of the Hornets (who now hold the tiebreaker thanks to Friday’s win), 2.5 games back of Orlando, and 4.5 games back from Miami in the 8-seed (who also holds the tiebreaker over Washington).
The Wizards would likely have to go 9-4 or 10-3 the rest of the way just to have a shot at making the playoffs. That is very unlikely considering the Wizards have strung together two three-game winning streaks just twice this season.
The schedule will not lighten up either as they still have to play Denver twice, Utah twice, Boston, Miami, and San Antonio.
The playoffs aren’t happening. It’s time to use the rest of the season to see which young guys are worth keeping around for next season.
This is a Wizards site, I get it. But some of these finishes Kemba Walker had tonight were incredible
What did Jabari Parker ever do to you, Kemba?
Kemba's moves are unfair pic.twitter.com/oUaCcgdPFa— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 16, 2019
Next up: The Wizards (29-40) are back in action on Saturday night as they host the Memphis Grizzlies (28-41) at 7 pm Eastern Time.