home 2016-17, Blogs, Game Coverage Beal’s Blue Magic Casts A Spell On Clippers; Wizards Win Third Straight

Beal’s Blue Magic Casts A Spell On Clippers; Wizards Win Third Straight

Wizards 117
Clippers 110

December 18, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

NBA Stats Box Score

Man, that game was #SoWizards. Wait what, they won? The Wizards knocked off the 20-7 Clippers?? This must be a dream, right? No this is real life and Washington is looking like they may have turned a corner on the season. The team that lost to Orlando and Philadelphia is not the current one that has won five of their last six. Washington has moved up just two spots in the standings, but sit just two games back in the loss column of the third-seeded Boston Celtics.

1st quarter

If only NBA basketball games only lasted 3 minutes and 10 seconds (little did we know the outcome would be the same 44 minutes and 50 seconds later). At that point, the Wizards were up 6-2 following a Wall jumper. Doc Rivers had seen enough as his team got off to a 1 of 6 shooting start.

It seems like a #SoWizards theme not to get the benefit of the doubt from the officials and that was evident during the early going. Los Angeles was getting away with many clear violations: Blake Griffin walked (probably not per the NBA’s four step rule); Luc Mbah a Moute chicken winged his way around Marcin Gortat; and John Wall was called for a “charge” in transition when Griffin was clearly back peddling. Washington was still able to maintain a lead, but these calls made it tough to try and extend it.

Without Kelly Oubre Jr., who sustained a “mild concussion” against Detroit when he ran into Aron Baynes according to Scott Brooks, the Wizards were unable to go small. That, coupled with the matchup against a traditionally big team with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, forced Brooks to get creative in matching the bodies in the paint. Andrew Nicholson playing was no surprise without Jason Smith (day-to-day with a hamstring issue), but with Marcin Gortat picking up two fouls in less than nine minutes, rookie Daniel Ochefu saw his first meaningful minutes in his NBA career.

John Wall was the Wizards’ lone starter to play the entire first quarter and it ended in fashion. Wall missed the back end of his free throws but was able to corral the pinballing basketball. Washington’s point guard took a couple dribbles to his right and hit a tough fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to give the DC area free McGriddles tomorrow with a 28-27 lead.

2nd quarter

Midway through the quarter, Washington went small with Markieff Morris playing center against Blake Griffin and Bradley Beal guarding Mo Speights. That did not work out on the defensive end but it bought Brooks some time as Beal was able to convert on the other end of the court.

Brooks previously said that Tomas Satoransky has been putting too much pressure on himself as a rookie. Sato simplified things when playing seven and a half minutes in the first half, not worrying about shooting but able to hand out a couple of assists. He played about as much in the second quarter as he had in any game over the past eight, but would sit the rest of the game.

With 4:14 left in the first half, Wall got a breakaway dunk to put Washington up 49-44. Verizon Center was loud, the Clippers were committing turnovers left and right and the Wizards were really into it for the time being.

Los Angeles ended the half on a quick 6-0 run to turn a three point deficit into a three point advantage, 55-52. This stretch lined up with Markieff Morris sitting with three fouls, the second and third being phantom calls, as Daniel Ochefu attempted to guard DeAndre Jordan.

3rd quarter

The start of the second half was not pretty to say the least. Brooks had to call an early quarter timeout after a 10-2 Clippers run put Washington into an 11 point hole. Brooks later rolled the dice by keeping a four-foul Markieff Morris in the game before eventually subbing him out in favor of Nicholson.

Bradley Beal is a blue magic panda. The shooting guard poured in 18 points in the third quarter, his career best for any quarter, including three 3-pointers. Beal more than doubled his scoring production from the first half and had 55 percent of the team’s third quarter points.

Things got interesting late in the quarter as John Wall converted on a transition lay-up with 1:18 left. Wall finished despite getting hit in the head by Blake Griffin. Wall was furious at the referee and barked and flailed his arms in his direction, he was promptly T’d up and given a seat on the bench to cool off. Washington trailed 87-85 with one quarter to play.

4th quarter

In the fourth quarter alone, there were eight instances where Washington and LA were tied as they were two fighters going back and forth with baskets. Then the Clippers went on a quick 7-0 run in a matter of 65 seconds. For a moment, it looked like the same story different game, Washington chokes away a chance to defeat one of the NBA’s best teams.

Although Bradley Beal finished with 41 points, it was Markieff Morris that helped pave the way to a comeback in the final quarter. 12 of Morris’ 23 points came in the fourth on an efficient 6 of 7 shooting in the twelve-minute frame. Morris got the Verizon Center crowd on their feet with a beautiful alley-oop from John Wall as well as a posterizing dunk on Mo Speights.

The Wizards ended the game on a 22-8 run to turn a seven point deficit into a seven point victory. The difference between tonight’s victory over an elite team and those that slipped away in San Antonio and Oklahoma City you ask? The ability to call each other out on defensive miscues according to Bradley Beal. That and not pouting over what the referees do or do not call (Doc Rivers learned that the hard way when he got ejected late in the game). Washington was victorious 117-110 in front of a 17,380 packed crowd.

#WizClips in a Tweet

The Game’s Top Performer

Bradley Beal – 41 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 6 three-pointers

What can you say? Bradley Beal was en fuego during yesterday’s game. Not only did the shooting guard have his second-best scoring performance in his career (previously had 42 this season), but he did it in an efficient manner with 13 of 23 (56.5 percent) shooting. His made 3-pointers were also timely when the Wizards needed a lift and he may have Marcin Gortat to thank for that. “He’s always in a rhythm because I set screens for him,” the Polish Machine said post-game.

Future Hall of Famer (of both the NBA and flopping/complaining department) Chris Paul had some insightful comments about Beal. “Brad looked like a totally different person. A lot more aggressive. This is the Bradley Beal he should be all the time. Tonight he was aggressive, which, in order for this team to be as good as they want to be, he has to be like that.”

A forgettable night for..

Andrew Nicholson

Nicholson was put in a tough spot facing off against a combination of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan but it was beyond ugly. Nicholson played 13 minutes and did not record a single rebound but instead was called for three fouls. It was tough to watch and actually makes me miss Jason Smith …

Key Stat of the Night

The bench was 6 of 10 from the field for 17 points; this was important without the services of Kelly Oubre. It is no coincidence that the Wizards recent hot spell has come with a non-below average performance from their second unit. Washington’s starting five is good so as long as the second unit can maintain the status quo, this team could make a complete turnaround from early season struggles.

What’s next?

The Wizards hopped on a plane on Sunday night headed for Indiana as they will take on the Pacers (14-14) on Monday at 7 p.m. looking to win their fourth straight game.

Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for Hoop District covering the Wizards. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland, College Park. Neil also covers the Washington Redskins for Breaking Burgundy and Maryland Terrapins for Testudo Times. Neil previously covered the Wizards for District Sports Page and is looking forward to bring his in-person coverage to each of the loyal Hoop District followers.

we are Hoop District

%d bloggers like this: