November 21, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
It is #SoWizards (maybe even a #DCSports thing in general) to play down to another team’s level. Phoenix is a young team that was dealing with the absences of T.J. Warren and Tyson Chandler, but took Washington to the bitter end.
In a game that featured 20 lead changes, it was Bradley Beal’s career-high 42 points that made the difference. Washington saw John Wall finish the game strong, hitting key jumpers late to put the home team over the hump. For just the fourth time all season, the Wizards won – 106-101 over the Phoenix Suns.
#WizHeat in a Tweet
The night we've all been waiting for from Bradley Beal. A career-high 42 points on 22 shots. 5-10 from downtown. pic.twitter.com/4gKA3kp4fe
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 22, 2016
The Game’s Top Performer
When you set a career-high in points scored and do it on an efficient shooting night, it is pretty easy to get penciled in as our player of the game. Beal had a fiery warm up session to begin the game which foreshadowed his success against the Suns. The max-money guard scored nine points in the game’s opening nine minutes including two 3-pointers.
From there it was a constant heat check the rest of the game. On a night where Washington did not have a secondary scorer until late in the game, The Panda took it upon himself to deliver when the team needed him most. Beal finished with 42 points on just 22 field goal attempts in nearly 40 minutes of play. Brooks attributed Beal’s strong play in back-to-back games to him finally being healthy following a brief absence with a hamstring injury.
A forgettable night for..
Tonight we avoid taking the easy road and picking Marcus Thornton because despite poor defense, he did hit two critical 3-pointers late in the 3rd quarter to make an 11 point deficit just five. Smith on the other hand, struggled in his sub-seven minutes of play picking up two fouls and continuously settling for jump shots. Brooks opted for Markieff Morris at the 5 instead of Smith for much of the second half.
Key Stat of the Night
Whether you are a fan of plus/minus or not, it is interesting that second-year shooter Devin Booker finished with a game worst -17. Booker was 6 of 9 from beyond the arc and scored a team high 30 points so it is surprising to see such a large differential given his volume scoring. You can thank Oubre for this because the fellow second-year player played good defense on Booker while filling in for Otto Porter. Porter was dealing with some discomfort after the Heat game and felt his right hip tighten up; Brooks considers the forward day-to-day.
• Before the game, Jared Dudley put an end to the John Wall-Bradley Beal “feud” narrative:
“I think it’s a working relationship in the sense of when they’re on the court, I think they have a respect matter for them. But it’s difficult when you have two starters trying to both come into their prime and obviously, John’s ahead of the curve and he’s already been an All-Star. Brad’s trying to develop his game and for him to develop his game he needs to be more of a ball handler, playmaker and for that it takes a little away from John. I don’t think it’s ‘I’m better than your, I’m better than that’, I don’t think it’s negative or anything like that. I think it’s a mutual respect when you have two young guys trying to grow at the same time. And sometimes you’ll buttheads but overall we went to games together, went to dinners together. There is no hate or animosity between those two.”
• “He played really determined tonight,” Suns head coach Earl Watson said about Beal.
“He played well, 5-of-10 from the three. He is always moving, getting offensive rebounds from the perimeter. They did a great job of finding him. John Wall did a great job of putting him in position. Dynamic backcourt.”
• Phoenix is known for being a team that runs the court, especially in their three guard lineups, and that was the case tonight. However, it was Washington who took advantage of fast break points. The Wizards dominated in transition to the tune of 25 to 6, which is more of a credit to the team’s defense. When asked what was the difference between tonight and past games, “we were locked in” Beal said.