The Washington Wizards kicked off the West Coast proper part of their six-game road trip with 110-107 victory over the Golden State Warriors. This game didn’t bring the flash that we were coming to expect with such big names as Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. There wasn’t a moment in the game that really stood out until the waning seconds of the game.
Wizards started out the game with the lead, maintained it and did not relinquish it until midway through the 3rd quarter. Despite the Wizards maintaining this lead, there just wasn’t a point in the game where it felt like they would put the Warriors away. The 4th quarter became a battle as the Warriors took as much as a 5 point lead, while both Curry and Beal remained on the bench. The last few minutes would go back and forth, but the game was decided on huge and-one three-pointer by Beal, and a huge stop by Deni Avjida on a Damion Lee drive in the Warriors next to last possession of the game. Wizards hang on and now have to travel to Phoenix for another tough matchup tomorrow night against the 2nd place team in the Western Conference.
Quiet Night for Beal...until the end
Beal struggled for most of the night. He only scored 3 points on 1/5 shooting in the first half. To top it off he finished the game with 6 turnovers. At times, he looked hesitant to take shots, didn’t quite have the same burst that we have become accustom to seeing on a nightly basis. He would hit a couple of buckets in the 3rd quarter to get him to 10 points. It appeared that he would not be back in, but the Wizards decided to put Beal back in with under five minutes left in the game. It turns out that move actually helped the Wizards because Beal hit some huge shots, including this, which led to the game-winning free throw:
Bradley Beal with the game-tying 3 plus the foul to give the Wizards the lead with 6.1 seconds to play, WOW pic.twitter.com/Idzlxe02rN— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) April 10, 2021
Poor 3-point shooting, but excellent paint play
In modern basketball, it’s very difficult to win games when you aren’t shooting well behind the arc, especially when the other team has Stephen Curry. The Wizards only shot 5 for 19 from 3 compared to the Warriors shooting 11 for 37. The Wizards made up for the lack of 3 point shooting with strong play in the paint, led by Robin Lopez 20 point night. The Wizards were able to pick up 60 of their 110 points in the paint. Play in the paint along with getting to the free throw line has been the formula for success when the Wizards win this season, and tonight was no different.
Washington is still giving up too many turnovers
Turnovers are bound to happen with ball dominant players, but tonight was particularly alarming for both Westbrook and Beal. Both finished with 6 turnovers a piece. Westbrook started off the game so well, collecting 7 assists in the 1st quarter alone with no turnovers, but the Warriors became aggressive, swiping the ball away a number of times. This team is very fortunate to win despite all of these turnovers. The Wizards are at their best when Westbrook plays efficient and cuts down on his turnovers.