Quick Links

Takeaways from Wizards' 4th win of season over Suns, Beal's career night

Takeaways from Wizards' 4th win of season over Suns, Beal's career night

For the first time in his career, Bradley Beal has put together consecutive games of 30-plus points -- and set a career-high with 42 points -- as he carried the Wizards to a 106-101 win over the Phoenix Suns at Verizon Center.  

Beal shot 14-for-22, including 5-for-10 from three-point range, and Wizards overcame the loss of Otto Porter and a terrible shooting performance by Wall (6-for-24).

Wall (18 points, 15 assists, three blocks), however, had a three-point play and a basket to reclaim the lead in the end. Marcin Gortat (10 points, 13 rebounds) was the  only other player to score in double figures.

On the other side of the ball, the Wizards (4-9) continued to have trouble getting stops as the Suns made 11 of 27 three-pointers and took an 11-point lead after halftime. Beal answered every run to chip away as they pulled it out down the stretch.

Beal had 34 points in a loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday. 

Eric Bledsoe (29 points, six assists, nine rebounds) led Phoenix followed by Devin Booker (30 points). Booker had seven points in a row late in the fourth to put his team back ahead 101-99 with 1:27 left. Wall countered with seven points in a row to retake the lead they'd never lose again.

-- Beal didn't just settle for three-point shots. He attacked closeouts by the Suns to get in the paint and made 11 trips to the foul line. The Wizards didn't do anything special to get him free. The Suns are awful at second efforts around solid screens, leaving their help in bad situations or just leaving Beal space to finish.

-- Porter went to the locker froom at 6:12 of the third quarter and didn't return because of right hip inflammation so Kelly Oubre (five points) took most of his minutes in the second half. 

-- Because the Suns go really small, coach Scott Brooks countered with a lineup that had Markieff Morris (five points, five rebounds) at center and Porter as a stretch power forward. It didn't work well because they were getting outrebounded in the second quarter (14-8). Gortat was put back in at 4:15 with them down 40-38. The Wizards got back on top by halftime 50-46 using a traditional lineup. 

-- After not playing the previous two games, Trey Burke was off the bench at 1:57 of the first quarter for Wall and was solid with Tomas Satoransky sharing the backcourt with him. Burke missed all three of his shots but created quality looks. Burke didn't return to action.

-- Phoenix lost the lead in the first half because they had 14 turnovers which led to 15 points. Its's how the Wizards had the edge despite 40% shooting from the field.


Quick Links

Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

USA Today Sports

Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 115-104 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

Step back: The Wizards just can't crack the code of consistency or the pesky Brooklyn Nets.

After winning three straight and looking like they had made some corrections, the Wizards stumbled out of the locker room at halftime and couldn't match Brooklyn's energy. The Nets pulled away to lead by as many as 19 and handed the Wizards yet another blowout loss in a season of which are quickly piling up.

The Nets have the formula to give the Wizards fits. They are scrappy and play defense. They are cohesive and well-coached. The Wizards are susceptible against try-hards who play with a chip on their shoulder. They too often let others set the tone and that's just what the Nets did in this one. 

The Wizards are now 5-10 on the season. That matches their 15-game start from two years ago, when they rallied to win 49 games, but that only means so much, of course.

Threes were off: While their attempts are up, the Wizards have been shooting uncharacteristically bad from three this season. They entered the game 27th in the NBA, shooting just 32.8 percent.

In this game, they didn't just struggle to make threes, they had trouble shooting them at all. Brooklyn sold out to take away the perimeter and was successful doing it. 

The Wizards went 3-for-17 from three and shot just 17.6 percent. They were 2-for-13 entering the fourth quarter.

Surely, head coach Scott Brooks won't be happy about that. Three-point shooting continues to be a major point of emphasis for him.

Howard was dominant early: Perhaps we should have expected this from Dwight Howard. After all, it was the Nets, the team Howard was bought out by over the summer, right before he signed with the Wizards. 

Was three days with a franchise enough for a revenge game? Sure, we'll go with it.

Or, perhaps he's just a bad matchup for Brooklyn because they were the team he smacked around for 32 points and 30 rebounds against last season.

He didn't quite go 30-30, but Howard was unstoppable in the first half. He ate Jarrett Allen, who is a very talented young player, for lunch. Allen and the rest of the Nets' frontline were no match for Howard's strength.

Howard popped off for six of the Wizards' first eight points. By halftime, he had 17 points, nine rebounds, a steal and a block.

This game was a reminder of the fact he can do things his predecessor, Marcin Gortat, cannot. Howard, really, can produce in a way no Wizards' fourth option has been able to in years.

Markieff Morris has often served as the fourth scoring option behind John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. But Morris doesn't often go off for nearly a double-double in a half. 

But, the second half:  What was strange about Howard, though, is that he barely played in the second half until the game was out of hand. Howard picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, but that didn't explain it all.

Howard played only five minutes from the start of the second half until there were less than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. During that stretch, Allen found success against the Wizards' small-ball lineups and helped the Nets pull away.

By the time Howard returned, the Wizards were down 19 points. Brooks had something that was working really well and, in part because of the fouls, he went away from it a little too long. It proved costly.

Morris struggled: As good as Howard was, Morris had one of his worst games of the season. The Wizards power forward had one of those nights we see far too often where he wasn't active enough on defense or on the boards. He couldn't get anything going offensively, either.

Morris, who ended the game with four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, had zero points and zero rebounds in nine minutes in the first quarter. 

While the Nets' big men were overmatched by Howard's strength, Morris couldn't keep up with their quickness. He was a step behind and had trouble matching their bounce around the rim.

Morris predictably didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. That's the way it goes with Brooks now.



Quick Links

2018-19 NBA power rankings: Wizards rising, are Warriors falling?

USA Today Sports Images

2018-19 NBA power rankings: Wizards rising, are Warriors falling?

The start to the 2018-19 NBA season did not go smoothly for a handful of teams. The Wizards started 2-9, but have since won three straight. The Lakers, with LeBron James leading the way, started 2-5 but have won six of their last seven games.

Even the Rockets, considered one of the top contenders for the 2018-19 NBA championship, started slow, losing five of their first six games. But since the calendar switched from October to November, the Rockets turned things around, having won six of eight.

Click here to view the latest 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings

What about the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry and company lost just once in their first 11 games, but have dropped three of their last five games amid turmoil between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. The Warriors are still clearly the favorites to win the NBA title again, but are they still perched atop our power rankings?

Here is a look at all 30 teams...

Click here to view the latest 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings