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Morning tip: Making the most of a less efficient bench on the road

Morning tip: Making the most of a less efficient bench on the road

Scott Brooks went back to a common saying about the Wizards when they play lackluster on defense like they have for the last five games.

“At times,” the coach said after a 119-104 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, “we hoped that they missed instead of making them miss. When you do that you’re not going to have success in this league.”

And yet, the Wizards (41-25) still went 4-1.

While Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris didn’t always play their best, the reserves again were key in getting them the distance they needed to close games or getting them back in it as they did Monday in helping erase a 21-point deficit to Minnesota. They just couldn't finish off the last one.

“We dug ourselves a hole and a second unit came in and dig a great job of getting us back into the game,” Wall said.

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After Jason Smith didn’t play in 4 of 5 games, Brooks relied on him for 23 minutes in a comeback win over the Phoenix Suns.

Smith was 6 of 7 for 17 points in what was his best performance on the trip. He didn’t play in the next game, at the Denver Nuggets, but went 4 of 4 in 23 minutes, and then 0-for-1 and 2-for-3 in the last two in which he played 8-9 minutes. Smith made all three of his three-point attempts on the trip.

Ian Mahinmi shot a combined 14-for-19 (73.6%) and had seven more rebounds three times in averaging 20 minutes per game. His low-post defense and ability to defend away from rim was needed for versatile bigs like Karl-Anthony Towns.

Bojan Bogdanovic averaged 15.8 points but saw his efficiency shooting dip to 42% (23 of 55). From three-point range, he had two games where he shot 0-for-5 and 1-for-6. But he manufactured his offense from the foul line, going 16-for-16 in one game.

Brandon Jennings still hasn’t found his shot. He missed all eight of his three-point attempts and has yet to make one with the Wizards. He had 22 total assists, however, averaging 13.4 minutes behind Wall.

Tomas Satoransky has played spot duty. He didn't exceed eight minutes in any game but was a solid ballhandler and defensively which helped them get back into games. He only took four shots, making two.

The biggest dropoff came from Kelly Oubre, who played double-digit minutes just twice on the trip, ending with just 39 seconds of action in the final game. The last time he scored in double digits was Feb. 6 in the home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Bradley Beal's back-to-back 50-point games have him in same sentence as Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain

Bradley Beal's back-to-back 50-point games have him in same sentence as Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain

WASHINGTON -- One night after scoring a career-high 53 points against the Chicago Bulls, Bradley Beal topped that with 55 points against the Milwaukee Bucks, and somehow the Wizards lost both games.

That produced a few statistical anomalies, as you can imagine. Dropping 108 points in two games also put Beal in some very exclusive company.

Here are some stats to put Beal's last two days into perspective... 

**Beal is just the third player in NBA history to have 53 points or more in consecutive games. The other two players to accomplish the feat are Wilt Chamberlain and James Harden, two of the greatest scorers ever. Chamberlain did it 16 times, while Harden has done it three times.

**Beal is the first player to score 53-plus in two straight and lose both games since Chamberlain in 1962. It has been 58 years since it happened.

**Beal is now tied with Gilbert Arenas for the most 50-point games in Wizards/Bullets franchise history with three, but he is the first player in franchise history to have 50 or more in consecutive games.

**Beal became the first player with 50-plus points on back-to-back nights since Kobe Bryant in March of 2007. He is just the sixth player ever to accomplish the feat, joining Bryant, Michael Jordan, Bernard King, Elgin Baylor and Chamberlain.

**Beal's 108 points in two games are also the most combined on consecutive nights since Bryant in March of 2007. Bryant had 110, scoring 60 in the first game and 50 in the second. Bryant's funeral happened to be on Monday, the second day of Beal's scoring barrage.

**Beal's 55 points against the Bucks included eight threes. It was just the 14th time in NBA history a player has done that. The others to accomplish the feat: Bryant, Harden, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson.

**Beal raised his season scoring average a full point, from 29.1 to 30.1 with his two 50-point games. That leads the Eastern Conference and is second only to Harden's 35.3 in the NBA this season. It is a legal requirement to now note that he was not an All-Star.

Basketball Reference, NBA.com and Elias were used as part of this research

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Bradley Beal becomes first player to score 50 points on back-to-back nights since Kobe Bryant

Bradley Beal becomes first player to score 50 points on back-to-back nights since Kobe Bryant

Monday was a difficult day for the NBA.

Kobe Bryant's memorial service was held in Los Angeles nearly a month after the tragic passing of him and his daughter Gianna. A number of NBA players were in attendance, but Bradley Beal and the Wizards couldn't because they were hosting the Bucks that night. 

So on a day the basketball world celebrated Bryant's life, Bradley Beal achieved a milestone no player has since the Black Mamba. 

Beal poured in 55 points in an overtime loss to the Bucks, setting his career-high for points in a game for the second straight night after a 53-point outburst against the Bulls on Sunday.

Bryant was the last player to score 50 points on back-to-back nights. He did it with a 60-spot on the Grizzlies on March 22, 2007, and then put up 50 the next night against the Rockets. 

Similar to Beal, both games ended in losses in a year where Bryant had to shoulder most of the offensive load for his team. It was Bryant's second full season without Shaquille O'Neal by his side. 

The only thing left for Beal to do to mirror Bryant's '06-07 season would be making the playoffs. While unlikely at this junction, I wouldn't put anything past this Wizards team. 

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