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Top takeaways from the Wizards' 140-132 win over the Suns

Top takeaways from the Wizards' 140-132 win over the Suns

The Wizards, especially offensively, bounced back from a rough outing in Denver Tuesday night to get a much-needed win on the road against the Suns. 

Bradley Beal got back on track with another 30-point night, the bench was terrific led by Ish Smith and Washington made a ton of great plays in crunch time. 

Here are the top takeaways from their win in the desert. 

A polar-opposite night from three

The Wizards shot 1-16 from three in the first half and 10-40 for the game Tuesday night in Denver. The warm weather must do this team wonders because they shot a blistering 11-16 from three in the first half and 19-35 overall in Phoenix. 

It's too bad the Wizards couldn't shoot like this against the Nuggets, but you'll take it when you can get it, right? 

The hope here is that the Wizards can find a level of stability from deep. If they're either ice cold or as hot as can be back there, it'll be hard to get any sort of rhythm on offense or defense. 

We'll see what happens to their shooting when they get to LA and go up against two of the best defenses in the league. If ball pressure is the key to stopping the Wizards defense, teams will catch on eventually and the Wizards won't win many more games this year. 

Davis Bertans is the Wizards' second-best player

The main question surrounding this team heading into the season was who would be the Wizards' next-best player after Bradley Beal. 

Some guessed Thomas Bryant, others suggested Rui Hachimura, but I'm here to tell you it's Davis Bertans. The stats don't really back up my point, so this is purely an eye-test take. 

The way Bertans stretches the floor and can hit about every three you can think of. Whether it's a trailer, coming off a screen or pulling it off the bounce, Bertans' skill from the outside is more advanced than any other player's individual skill on this team outside of Beal. That's not it. Under Scott Brooks, Bertans has flashed an impressive amount of aptitude as a ball handler. You can put him in pick and roll situations, and he can create plays when he gets run off the three-point line. 

This is where this might get important for the Wizards right now. They're most likely missing the playoffs, and if the losses start to pile up before the trade deadline, they should try to sell high on the 27-year-old forward. 

His contract is up after this season, and at the rate he's currently playing, contending teams will probably give up at least one first round pick to get him. For the Wizards, gaining assets before losing free agents for nothing should be one of their priorities. 

Isaiah Thomas is pressing

After the loss in Denver a night ago, Thomas called it one of the worst games of his career. He's still finding his feel on the court and it'll take time, but it was clear Thomas was forcing the issue a bit too much in this game. 

Instead of looking for his shot every trip down and in every pick and roll he's in, Thomas probably needs to play within the flow of the offense and let the game come to him. He's too good a player to be kept silent for long. 

He definitely deserves credit though for hitting a clutch three with the shot clock running down late in the fourth. The Wizards had nothing cooking on that play and Thomas bailed them out, which is what great players do. 

Patience is key with Thomas this season. He missed basically a full year because of hip surgery, it'll take time for him to get fully comfortable out there. Once we get past Christmas, I'd expect Thomas to start turning it up a notch in terms of production. 

Ish Smith makes winning plays

For the Wizards' other undersized point guard, Ish Smith was exceptional Wednesday night, especially down the stretch of the game. 

He finished with 21 points on 8-11 shooting and made multiple winning plays to keep the Wizards in the lead when the Suns were making a late-game push. It's hard to ask young players to continue to make big plays in crunch time when the defense is leaking buckets to the opponent.

Vets like Smith can help settle everyone down and put pressure on the other team with his quickness and savvy with the ball. 

This was the game the Wizards needed to win

Entering Tuesday at 5-10 and a two-game LA swing coming up this weekend, the Wizards needed to beat the Suns to avoid a disastrous west coast trip.

They weren't exactly set up for success from the beginning with three of four games coming against the best teams in the west, but if you're Washington, you could not afford to come home 5-13. 

By grabbing a win, the Wizards can play more freely in LA and worry more about giving those two elite groups a tough matchup than needing a win to stay afloat.

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Looking back at the top moments in Wizards All-Star Weekend history

Looking back at the top moments in Wizards All-Star Weekend history

The Wizards sent three representatives to 2020 NBA All-Star Chicago in Rui Hachimura, Moritz Wagner and Davis Bertans. The three young big men will join a long list of D.C. greats that have performed exceptionally well during All-Star Weekend history.

John Wall wins the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

John Wall was the last All-Star to win the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. In 2014, Wall competed in a revamped format of the Dunk Contest with a freestyle round followed by a battle round. Wall was voted Dunker of the Night.

Javale McGee gets snubbed in the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

McGee came in second place in the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, losing the fan vote to then-Clippers star Blake Griffin. McGee 

Tim Legler wins 1996 Three-Point Contest

Legler is the only Wizard/Bullet to win the Three-Point Shootout. Legler defeated Orlando Magic guard Dennis Scott in the final round of the shootout back in 1996. Legler announced that he almost missed the contest due to the birth of his daughter. After consulting with his wife, she insisted he participate, and they induced labor a week before All-Star Weekend. He dedicated the contest to his newborn and put forward the winning prize money toward her college fund.

Dave Bing named 1976 All-Star Game MVP

Bullets star Dave Bing won MVP in the final All-Star Game of his career. Bing is the only Wizard/Bullet in the franchise's history to be named All-Star Game MVP. He shot 7-of-11 from the floor and scored 16 points.

John Wall named MVP of 2011 Rising Stars Challenge

Wall brought home the hardware during his first Rising Stars Challenge, scoring 12 points and dishing out 22 assists to lead the rookies past a star-studded sophomore squad that included Stephen Curry and James Harden. 

Gilbert Arenas reaches the 2007 Three-Point Contest finals

Arenas competed in the Three-Point Contest in 2006 and 2007 as a member of the Wizards. He came in second place in his first go-round, falling to Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, and lost to Heat sharpshooter Jason Kapono in 2007.

Bradley Beal reaches the 2014 Three-Point Contest finals

Beal reached the final round of the shootout in 2014 but narrowly lost to Spurs guard Marco Belinelli, 24-18.

Davis Bertans reaches the 2020 Three-Point Contest finals

The Latvian Laser held his own in his first-ever Three-Point Contest. Bertans swept his money ball rack and ended up making seven in a row to earn himself a spot in the final round where he eventually lost to Kings' sharpshooter Buddy Hield.

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Kemba Walker, Bam Adebayo among players to call Bradley Beal the biggest All-Star snub

Kemba Walker, Bam Adebayo among players to call Bradley Beal the biggest All-Star snub

There have been so many people to come to the defense of Bradley Beal after the Wizards star was snubbed from the All-Star game. His fiancee, agent, teammates and even his alma mater's mascot have in some form expressed their frustration with the NBA coaches not voting Beal in as a reserve. 

Generally speaking, they're all supposed to defend him. But what about those who made it instead of Beal?

In a video produced by Bleacher Report, several NBA All-Stars and All-Star Saturday night participants gave their take on who they thought was the biggest All-Star snub. 

To me, I think Brad," Celtics star Kemba Walker said. "I know it's tough and they select with team records and things like that, but I definitely think Brad Beal should be here. No question."

Beal is averaging 29.1 points heading into the break, which marks the highest scoring average for a non-All-Star ever. World B. Free was the previous record holder from the 1978-19 season. 

"I feel like Bradley Beal is having an incredible year," Heat center Bam Adebayo said. "I feel like he should've been one of those guys who, off the strength of the players, I feel like he shoulda been here. But, I mean, yeah, I feel like it's [because] of his record, but you know, his performance is incredible and I think he's an All-Star."

During voting for the All-Star starters, Beal came in ninth among Eastern Conference guards for the fan vote and fifth in the media vote. But the players had him second, which would have had him starting in the game Sunday night. 

So it's not all that surprising that the players acknowledge Beal as the biggest All-Star snub this year. Maybe the league can get back on track and get him there next season, because there are more than a few players who made it this year who Beal's easily had a better season than. 

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