WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal said after Monday's loss to the Charlotte Hornets that the Wizards' "point of emphasis" going into the game was to win the rebounding margin. The Hornets beat the Wizards just five days earlier in part because they dominated the boards.
The Wizards accomplished that mission and then some. They also lost, producing a fairly unusual box score oddity. Washington won the rebounding margin by 29 - 65 to 36 - their best rebounding differential in a game in 20 years, since 2001. Their 65 rebounds were the most for the franchise in a regulation game since 1989.
They won both of those other games and not surprisingly. Winning the rebounding margin to that degree is generally a good indicator of which team won. The Wizards hadn't lost a game in which they outdid their opponent by 20 rebounds or more since 2012. It's possible they have never lost a game with a +29 rebounding margin or better, but records for that stat only date back to 1984.
When told of the team's rebounding advantage during his postgame press conference, Beal picked up the box score in disbelief: "Did we really?"
He then offered his take on why they couldn't capitalize.
"That's kind of disheartening because we know we didn't execute on the other end," he said.
Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. thought it said something about what the Wizards did when they got those rebounds and their defense.
"Our conversion rate wasn't great. They got backtaps and 50-50 balls and they converted," he said, adding: "If they're not missing, not a whole lot of rebounds."
The Hornets did indeed have a good offensive night. Their 109 points were the most allowed by the Wizards in a game since Nov. 3. Charlotte shot 48.4% from three and made 15 total shots from long range.
Many players helped the Wizards' rebounding cause, including Kyle Kuzma who had 13 boards and Daniel Gafford who had 10. Montrezl Harrell led the charge with a career-high 18 rebounds. He also had 24 points and did it all in only 27 minutes.
Harrell thought the Wizards' lack of offensive execution is what spoiled the rebounding performance.
"We were too often getting in a hero-ball position. We need to do what got us here so far," he said.
The Wizards shot 38.7% from the field and 25.0% from three (9-for-36). They also had 18 turnovers. It's not easy to squander a rebounding advantage like the one they had, but that will certainly do it.