The Washington Wizards started the second half of the season with a whimper, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, 127-112 on Wednesday night.
If the Wizards are going to win games, they will almost definitely have to see a great scoring performance by Bradley Beal. He scored 21 points tonight, but it was on 6-of-22 shooting, 1-of-8 from three. That’s usually a recipe for a bad game.
Washington played from behind in this game. Sure, they led here and there in the first and third quarters. The stretch that disappointed me the most was a 16-6 run by Memphis in the third quarter as Washington was outrebounded 20-8, giving the Grizzlies more a 31-20 advantage in attempted shots. Sure, Memphis shot just 35.5 percent in the period, but they still managed to get a 12 point lead at one point in the third.
Things just weren’t going Washington’s way in the fourth quarter either. Beal was still unable to get much going while the Grizzlies gradually grew their lead.
Jonas Valanciunas was the Wizards’ kryptonite. He scored 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting and grabbed 20 rebounds. His rebounding was higher than the combined total of Rui Hachimura, Robin Lopez and Deni Avdija’s, the three Wizards with the highest individual rebound totals. Dillon Brooks was also Beal’s kryptonite defending him most of the time tonight.
Not all the Wizards laid stinkers tonight, however. Russell Westbrook scored 20 points on 10-of-19 shooting and dished 10 assists. Davis Bertans and Deni Avdija added 13 points each off the bench.
The Wizards will head back home this Friday to play the Philadelphia 76ers. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. ET.