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Bradley Beal has best game of career as Wizards bounce back vs. Blazers

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Bradley Beal has best game of career as Wizards bounce back vs. Blazers

The Washington Wizards beat the Portland Trail Blazers 106-92 on Tuesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Beal took over: The last two games we saw Bradley Beal begin the game with goggles, get off to a poor shooting start and then ditch them. On Tuesday, he went away with the protective eyewear altogether and there's a good chance we will never see them again.

Beal went off for a career-high 51 points in a performance of thorough dominance one night after one of the worst games in franchise history. In a game rife with star guards, Beal stood above all and there was nothing the Blazers could do to slow him down. 

Beal caught fire early with 12 points in his first 10 minutes. Everything was going in. He hit his threes (5-for-12) and reclaimed his ability to finish around the rim. This is an example of shots he had been missing in his previous two games:

In the Wizards' first two wins since Wall went down with his latest injury, Beal was held to 18 points combined. It was their bench and other members of the starting lineup who led them to victories. This time Beal was the spark. Opponents had found success overloading on Beal in previous games, but against the Blazers he made the adjustment and broke through against a very good defensive team.

Beal had 19 points in the first half and amazingly got better in the second. He had 19 points in the third quarter alone, shooting 8-for-11 in the frame. Beal shot 21-for-37 for the game, the most field goal attempts for a Wizards player in one game since Gilbert Arenas in 2006.

Beal's 51 points were the most ever for an opponent at the Moda Center and the most ever on the road against the Blazers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held the previous record with 49 points in 1972.

Considering Beal had 50 points combined in his previous four games, this was quite the turn of events. Just when it seemed fair to question how he was performing without John Wall, Beal put an end to that theory with emphasis.

Bench lifted them again: The Wizards led by two points after the first quarter and built a 14-point by halftime in large part due to their bench. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (14 points, five steals) let a fuse with an array of plays on offense. He hit a three, drove right and finished with his left hand and hit a midrange jumper off a screen. He also had a steal on Pat Connaughton and finished on the other end on a give-and-go by Tomas Satoransky.

Mike Scott had one of his better games with 10 points and five rebounds on 5-for-5 shooting. He hit two midrange jumpers in the first quarter and continued to heat up in the second. Oubre and Scott are the two best offensive players the Wizards have on their bench and both helped change this game with their scoring. Scott has found himself in and out of the Wizards' rotation in recent weeks and it remains a mystery why.

The Wizards had 41 bench points compared to 13 for the Blazers. 

McCollum kept quiet: Beal also helped contribute to an important defensive effort. The Blazers are a below average offensive team heavily reliant on Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Stop either of those two and you are in business.

Lillard got his with 30 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. But McCollum was limited to 14 points on 6-for-16 (37.5%) shooting. Beal deserves some credit for that, too.

Up next: The Wizards get a much-needed off day before moving on to Phoenix to play the Suns on Thursday night. Tipoff is at 9 p.m.


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John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

WASHINGTON -- Things were not looking good for the Washington Wizards to start Game 4. Honestly, there were some flashes back to the team’s performance in the first two games of the series against the Toronto Raptors.

That all quickly changed when John Wall did what he does best: drive to the basket.

Not only did Wall drive to the basket, he went and put Raptors' center Jonas Valanciunas on a poster.

Valanciunas is a 7-foot Lithuanian.

We get it John, it’s your city and we’re all your residents.





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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night in Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Series: Raptors lead 2-1
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Time to get even

After a momentous Game 3 win, the Wizards have breathed some life back into their season. On Sunday, they can make this a brand new series.

With a win in Game 4 for the Wizards, they would tie the series and send it back to Toronto ensuring another home game in Washington. A loss would put them down 3-1, a deficit that has historically been hard to overcome.

Only 11 teams have accomplished the feat, most notably the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors did the same that year in the conference finals. It has only been done three times since 2006. 

How will Raptors respond?

Game 3 took on a much different tone and style than the previous two and it played into the Wizards' hands. It was much more physical and Washington did a good job of instigating contact and using it to their advanage. After the game, several players highlighted Markieff Morris shoving OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka as a turning point.

Just because it worked in Game 3 doesn't mean it will carry over successfully in Game 4. Not only could the Raptors respond with their own dose of brutality, but the referees may try to nip anything of the sort in the bud early on.

It would not be surprising if Game 4 was officiated very tightly and if a message was sent in the first quarter to the players. After seeing how well it worked in Game 3, the Wizards will likely try to test the limits.

Playoff Beal

The Raptors will also try to adjust their defense following Bradley Beal's 28-point outburst in Game 3. He wasn't much of a factor in the first two games of the series, but broke out in Game 3 to lead the Wizards to a win.

The Wizards did a good job of getting Beal involved early. He was found for open looks from three in the first half and had two three-pointers in each of the first two quarters. Beal also took it upon himself to attack the rim and force the issue.

The Raptors held Beal back in the first two games by being rough with him and in Game 2 they got him in foul trouble. Surely he will be a big emphasis of their gameplan on Sunday.

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For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast: