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.