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Takeaways from Wizards' win over Lakers, 16th straight home victory

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Lakers, 16th straight home victory

Even when the Wizards don’t play their best, they’re still winning by double-digits which was the case after they held on in Thursday’s 116-108 win over the L.A. Lakers for their 16th win in a row at Verizon Center in front of 16,473 -- the second-longest home winning streak in franchise history.

When the Lakers (17-35) were here last season, in Kobe Bryant’s final game on this floor, the Wizards underperformed in one of their worst losses in front of a pro-Lakers crowd.

Almost everything was the same except the Wizards (29-20)  won despite an uncomfortable finish. They lost a chunk of what had been a 19-point lead in the third quarter when a dunk from Luol Deng cut the deficit to 67-60. Then a turnover led to a lob dunk for Larry Nance to get it to 91-78 with 9:58 left.

John Wall (33 points, 11 assists), however, scored 16 in the fourth to lead all scorers with his 29th double-double, followed by Bradley Beal (23 points, four assists) and Marcin Gortat (21 points, 14 rebounds) with his 28th double-double. Markieff Morris (12 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, two blocks) and Otto Porter (11 points, six rebounds) came alive in the second half when their production was needed most.

D’Angelo Russell (17 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds) led the Lakers followed by Jordan Clarkson (20 points), Deng (17 points), Lou Williams (15 points) and Tarik Black (13 points, 11 rebounds).

[RELATED: Will the Wizards make a big move at the trade deadline?]

--The Wizards led just 31-29 after the first quarter when they allowed 12-for-22 shooting, 54.5%, and 5 of 12 from three, or 41.7%. Then the game turned because of a second unit. When Beal returned at 8:03, the Wizards were up 39-31. When Wall and Gortat re-entered at 6:37, it was 42-33. In that stretch Kelly Oubre made a 6-footer and a 19-footer. Trey Burke and Jason Smith had layups and the Lakers went cold. The second unit, however, wasn’t as efficient to begin the fourth quarter.

-- The Lakers had 15 first-half turnovers that produced 17 points the other way. Russell had five giveaways in the first half alone and finished with seven. Williams came off the bench had three in just nine minutes of the first half with his only field goal coming on a contested three by Oubre. But the Lakers were more responsible with the ball in the second half where they only committed five to get back into the game.

--Beal appeared to be on his way to setting a career-high for three-pointers, eclipsing his mark set earlier this season vs. the Sacramento Kings when he made seven. He was 5-for-6 in the first half but lost his touch. He has had six made threes twice, in a loss at the Boston Celtics and in a win over the L.A. Clippers.

--The open looks were there for Morris and Porter, but they only combined to make 1 of 8 three-pointers in the first half for a total of seven points. Still, the Wizards led 58-44 because of their superior guard play of Wall and Beal combining for 29. Porter heated up in the third quarter with a pair of treys to get the lead back up to double digits. Morris compensated for his 3-for-14 shooting by going 6-for-8 from the foul line and coming up with key rebounds and a block of Larry Nance at the rim that put the Wizards in transition for a 101-93 lead.

--The Lakers came out aggressive in the third by denying passing lanes and handoffs as they were able to disrupt the Wizards’ rhythm and pace. They got the deficit down and even got even at 91 but couldn’t keep Gortat off the glass or stop the pick-and-roll. He shot 10-for-13 after entering the game shooting 81% from the field in his previous four games.

--Perhaps the key sequence of the game came at 4:38 after Morris missed a dunk and the Wizards ahead just 101-96. The botched play put Russell in transition. Porter and Beal hustled back and Beal swatted it off the backboard. Deng recovered the ball and tried to drive but Gortat was there for the charge. The next time down the floor, Morris converted a lob dunk to make up for it.

-- Timofey Mozgov, who signed for $64 million with Los Angeles last summer, had as many points as Ian Mahinmi. Mozgov missed his only shot and was held scoreless in 17 minutes as a starter. Mahinmi, who also signed for the same amount but has been out injured all season for the Wizards except for one game, could be near a return. 

[RELATED: Ian Mahinmi goes through Wizards shootaround for 1st time since Nov.]

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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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