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Bradley Beal drops another 40+ points but Wizards lose third straight game

Bradley Beal drops another 40+ points but Wizards lose third straight game

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards lost to the Orlando Magic 127-120 at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. Tuesday's game went about how most expected this season would for the Wizards. Bradley Beal played like a star, but there wasn't enough around him to get the win.

Beal was brilliant with 42 points (16-30 FG). It was his 16th career 40-point game and his fourth of the season. The Wizards are 1-3 when he drops 40 this season.

As for his teammates, Davis Bertans did his part with 21 points and Rui Hachimura followed up a career night against the Clippers with 15. And Isaiah Thomas added 20 points in a season-high 34 minutes.

But no one else had it going. The Wizards' bench was outscored by the Magic second unit 47-20. For the Wizards to win with their league-worst defense, they need more scoring than that.

The result was the Wizards' fifth loss in their last six games. They are now 6-13 on the year with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers up next on Thursday.

The Wizards have lost both of their games against Orlando this season and in each of those games the Magic set a new season-high for points scored.

2. Beal has already dealt with a below-average supporting cast when the Wizards were healthy, but now they are far from it. Before the game, we learned that starting center Thomas Bryant will be out for at least three weeks with a stress reaction in his right foot. 

The Wizards were also missing backup center Moe Wagner, third-string center Ian Mahinmi and backup small forward C.J. Miles, who is still awaiting the results of a second opinion on his injured left hand. That is, of course, in addition to John Wall's extended absence.

With Bryant, Wagner and Mahinmi all out, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks had to get extra creative with his lineups. He started Hachimura at center and used Admiral Schofield as his backup. Both are rookies and forwards by trade.

Not surprisingly, they had some trouble. The Wizards were outrebounded 48-38 and Orlando had 60 paint points.

3. Speaking of Schofield, he was playing in this game just hours after he logged 38 minutes for the Capital City Go-Go of the G-League. Schofield took on the Orlando Magic's G-League affiliate in an 11:30 a.m. tip-off in Southeast Washington, then made the trip to Capital One to play for the Wizards.

Ideally, Schofield wouldn't have had to play at all in the night game. His teammate Justin Robinson also did double duty, but was shielded by the Wizards' point guard depth. But the Wizards had no choice but to turn to Schofield in a pinch.

There were some rough moments, and Schofield went scoreless in seven minutes, but he did his best in what was an emergency situation.

4. In addition to shuffling things around due to injuries, Brooks pulled Troy Brown Jr. from the starting lineup and replaced him with Isaac Bonga. That one was based on performance, as Brooks explained pregame how Brown was struggling and how Bonga could give them some defense, which they desperately need.

For Brown, who had five points and eight rebounds, there are some things to like. He gives a consistent effort and has a knack for pushing the ball with creative passes. He can also rebound.

But he takes too many chances that backfire with turnovers and he sometimes gets pushed around on the defensive end. Perhaps he can have more success in those areas when going against second-unit players.

5. Markelle Fultz has a reputation among most basketball fans for being a first overall pick who lost his jumper and his rebuilding his career in Orlando. But around these parts, he is carving out an entirely different story, one of a Wizards Killer.

Fultz, who is from D.C. and made his NBA debut at Capital One Arena, lit up his hometown team once again on Tuesday. After setting a career-high with 19 points against the Wizards earlier this season, he went off for 20 in this one, a new personal best. 

If Fultz keeps this up, we all know what it means, that he will someday play for the Wizards. They have a habit of acquiring guys who have been infamously good against them. It happened with Jeff Green, C.J. Miles, Ish Smith and Isaiah Thomas. Maybe it will happen with Fultz.

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Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

WASHINGTON -- The long-awaited return of Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura is getting closer, as he participated in a full practice on Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin injury back on Dec. 16.

Hachimura, 21, had no limitations, per head coach Scott Brooks. He went through all of their drills and full-contact scrimmages.

"He did well. He went through everything. That's another good day," Brooks said.

The final hurdle for Hachimura at this point involves getting into game shape. His conditioning is not close to midseason form after missing seven weeks of games.

Brooks said Hachimura definitely will not return before the end of the team's current road trip, which ends on Tuesday in Milwaukee. After that, however, it could be a matter of days.

 

The Wizards will return to Washington after playing the Bucks for a six-game homestand. It seems likely he is back by the time it's over.

The ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Hachimura has had a strong rookie season so far, averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field. The Wizards have gone 7-12 since he's been out.

Hachimura suffered the injury when he was inadvertently kicked between the legs by teammate Isaac Bonga. He required a minor procedure and was away from the team for weeks before slowly working his way back to basketball activities and then participating in practices.

Saturday was a big step in his recovery and it now puts the finish line into focus.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Watch: We mic'd up Thomas Bryant when he cheered on Indiana in matchup vs. Maryland

Watch: We mic'd up Thomas Bryant when he cheered on Indiana in matchup vs. Maryland

When the Maryland Terps faced Indiana for the first time in Big Ten play this season in early January, one famous former Hoosiers player sat in the stands cheering his team on. Wizards center Thomas Bryant allowed NBC Sports Washington to follow him throughout the game, where he showed his trademark enthusiasm for his former team. 

"It feels great," he said when asked by NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes how it feels to be watching his alma mater. "It seems like yesterday I was just playing against Maryland myself."

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Unfortunately for Bryant, the Hoosiers lost that game. But they'll get another shot at the Terps on Sunday. 

But Bryant, who will have his own game to suit up for when the Wizards take on the Hawks, won't be there to cheer. But when he did have the chance - he was vocal. After all, he told Hughes, that's just the type of fan and teammate he is.

"No matter if I'm out there or not, I'm going to be on my brother's side," he said.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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