After two disappointing losses, the Wizards were desperate to get back in the win column. They came out playing accordingly in the first quarter, especially on the defensive end. Rui Hachimura had the game’s first six points on two three-pointers, and the Wizards were playing with effort and active hands-on defense. The squad turned seven Nets turnovers into 11 points and held them to just six made field goals on 31% shooting. They even out-rebounded the Nets 17-14 to start the game.
After halftime though, the Wizards momentum came to a halt. Caris LeVert was getting nearly any shot he wanted, having 32 points by the end of the third quarter. Deandre Jordan was banging the offensive glass, and the Wizards’ offense had gone ice cold. This game appeared to be another loss that was very winnable against a Nets team without the star power of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Wizards were outscored by the Nets 37-21 in the third quarter.
Enter Bradley Beal. Beal had the hot hand and took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 of his 30 points in the final 12 minutes. This was the third straight fourth quarter where he’s scored at least 17 points. The lead moved back and forth between the two teams until the final buzzer sounded.
The shot that proved to be the game-winner, though, came from newly acquired Wizard, Jerome Robinson. Beal was covered well being the three-point line and found an open Robinson who buried a three to give the Wizards a two-point lead, and then iced the game for good with a pair of free throws. Scott Brooks applauded Beal for making the move to get the ball to Robinson.
“Big plays. The best part about that play was that Bradley Beal made the right play. That’s two games in a row. He’s been on a streak that hasn’t happened in 13 years. He made the last play with Rui [Hachimura] underneath the basket for an opportunity to win that game. Then tonight he could easily put his head down and try to go around. They trapped them 35 feet. He trusts his teammates, made the right play to the left slot to Jerome [Robinson]. Jerome didn’t hesitate, he had a tendency to hesitate and I’m telling them, ‘he who hesitates doesn’t make shots.’ I like that. He caught it, had confidence, he took the shot, took the ball and made the basket then he got the rebound and they got the two free throws, so it was a great play by him. Great few plays by him.” – Wizards head coach Scott Brooks
Rebounds – While the team’s defense showed improvement, the rebounding was aspect was lacking. After the first quarter, the Wizards were out-rebounded 42-22 and gave up 15 offensive boards (six to Deandre Jordan alone).
Rui’s development – Fans continue to see Rui Hachimura growth, but there is room for further development. After a confident first half in which he scored 15 points, he seemed to have lost his offensive touch in the second half. There were multiple occasions where he was stuck and then forced the ball to Beal awkwardly which resulted in a turnovers. It would be beneficial to the team should Rui be more decisive in the post under pressure.
Beal’s streak – Bradley Beal didn’t snag another 50 point game. However, this marks the 16 consecutive game in which Brad has scored at least 25 points. He is one short of the Wizards franchise record.
Getting a win was refreshing after a brief losing streak. However, Orlando also won last night, so the Wiz squad remains 4.5 games out of eighth place. Up next they have a four-game Western road trip against the Jazz, Warriors, Kings, and Blazers. Only the Jazz are currently in playoff position, but the Wizards are not that great on the road being 7-21. If the team can go 3-1 on that trip, postseason dreams could look a little brighter.