In the Washington Wizards’ 124-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors last night, they accomplished two things. The first was getting a much needed win to stay in the playoff hunt for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Second, the Wizards beat the Warriors on the road for the first time in six years.
After dropping the first game of this four-game road trip to the Utah Jazz, the Wizards knew they had to respond against the Warriors. And the response was led by Bradley Beal, who’s been on a scoring tear since getting snubbed out of the All-Star game. Beal scored 34 points on 10-24 shooting, and was lights out from 3-point range, shooting 7-9 from behind the arc.
The hot shooting by the Wizards was contagious. Davis Bertans also had the hot hand against the Warriors, torching them with 29 points on 10-14 shooting. Like Beal, Bertans also had a strong performance from 3-point range, going 8-10 from behind the arc.
The Wizards trailed for only 20 seconds last night against the Warriors, and had a 22 point lead at one point. Although the Warriors won the rebounding battle 58-41, Washington made them pay in other areas of the game.
The fast break game helped big time, with Washington having a 24-14 advantage. Beal and Bertans’ great shooting from 3-point range were huge for the Wizards. Collectively, Washington shot 20-30 (66.7%) from three and held the Warriors to 9-28 (32.1%) from long range in the process.
The shooting for the Wizards translated into success at the free throw line. As a team, they made the Warriors pay for fouling them, shooting 24-27 (88.9%) from the charity stripe.
Hachimura is getting back on track
In the win last night, Rui Hachimura also played very well, scoring 15 points on 4-8 shooting. Ever since Hachimura returned on February 3rd against the Warriors, he’s started to get back on track.
During the 12 game stretch since his return, he’s averaging 14 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Obviously, the numbers aren’t flashy. But Hachimura’s growth is the main thing that folks are looking for. And he definitely has Wizards fans feeling optimistic about the future.
Beal’s hot tear continues
As stated, Beal had 34 points against the Warriors last night. But that’s just another spectacular performance under his belt since receiving the All-Star snub. He made it well known that he wasn’t too happy about the snub, which has added fuel to his hot tear. Ever since January 30th, the night that Beal was snubbed, he’s averaging 35.8 points per game.
The tear that Beal has been on is showing people that he’s no longer just a very good player. He’s become the unquestioned superstar of the franchise, which is definitely what’s needed in Washington.
With the Wizards win last night, they’re now 22-37, which is ninth in the Eastern Conference. They’re catching a much needed break with the Brooklyn Nets (26-33) now on a four-game losing streak. The eighth and final playoff spot is definitely still in reach for the Wizards.
Wizards playoff push: Next Up
The Wizards will continue their four-game road trip on Tuesday night as they visit Sacramento to play the Kings, who are also battling for a playoff spot. The teams faced off on November 24th at Capital One Arena, with the Kings winning 113-106. The Wizards are coming in looking to avenge that early season defeat.