Beal got to 40 despite only taking 17 shots the entire game. He became only the eighth player in the last five years to reach 40 in a game while taking so few shots.
The Wizards and Grizzlies both hit the ground running with their star guards getting hot early. Beal connected on his first four 3-pointers of the game and racked up 19 points in the first half. Mike Conley added 19 of his own, including two on a floater in the closing seconds of the half to put Memphis up 71-69 at halftime.
The defense wasn’t great on either end, as you might have guessed from that first half score. The Wizards shot 53 percent and made 10 threes in the first half. The Grizzlies shot 59 percent and made 8 threes of their own.
Both keeps kept pouring it on in the third quarter. Even a hard foul from Jonas Valanciunas couldn’t keep Beal down long.
Bradley Beal took a HARD fall— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) March 17, 2019
(He stayed in the game) pic.twitter.com/svXDSUPqFw
He added 14 more points in the third quarter and made his eighth three of the game which set a new career-high for threes made in a game. Still, it wasn’t enough to create any separation from Memphis as Joakim Noah and Chandler Parsons came off the bench to pile on points while Avery Bradley exploited the Wizards’ inattentive off-ball defense.
Both teams finally dried up on the offensive end in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t until both teams put their starters back in that things perked up. Fortunately for Washington, Beal was just a little hotter than everyone else. He scored 8 points in his first two minutes back on the floor.
Memphis threw more exaggerated double teams at Beal the rest of the way to keep the ball out of his hands. He used the extra attention he was drawing to create mismatches around the rest of the floor which led to open looks for Tomas Satoransky and Jeff Green down the stretch. Then, in the final minute, Beal broke free to reach the 40-point mark for the second-straight game and seal the win for Washington.
AND THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE, 'CAUSE BRADLEY BEAL SAID SO. pic.twitter.com/NO9xGnHun1— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 17, 2019
Beal is the first player in franchise history to score 40 on back-to-back nights since Walt Bellamy in 1962.
The full Jabari Parker experience
Parker was exceptional in some regards tonight. He had 20 points and 11 rebounds to help carry an otherwise ineffective bench and the team was a +12 in his 29 minutes on the floor. He was a net positive on the whole, but boy there was a lot of bad mixed in with the good.
Washington has given him the green light to make aggressive passes even though there’s been more bad than good, as evidenced by his 2.9 turnovers per game since joining the Wizards. It was even worse in this game than usual, as he posted a 2:5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He attempted several lobs that were off the mark both in terms of pass accuracy and in assessing the likelihood the passes would lead to scores.
His defense, which is also not typically a bright spot, was even worse than usual against Memphis. The Grizzlies could play Joakim Noah and Jonas Valanciunas together on the floor and still score effectively because of how often Parker was out of position.
Again Parker did more good than bad and he was a key part of why Washington won, but this is the stuff you have to live with when he’s playing a significant role on your team and why teams have struggled to make him fit in a winning situation.
The Wizards continue to play great on tired legs
Washington is now 9-4 on the second night of back-to-backs this season, and average 116.5 points per game in those contests, which is better than their season average. Bradley Beal, in particular, has been awesome on short rest. He’s averaging 26.2 points per game on 53.7 percent shooting from the field, and 41.9 percent shooting from deep. Regardless of how you feel about how the Wizards should manage Bradley Beal’s minutes, you have to respect Beal’s ability to step up in the most challenging situations.
Next up: The Wizards (30-40) wrap up their five-game homestand on Monday as the host the Utah Jazz (39-29) at 7 pm Eastern Time.