In yet another close finish, the Wizards won their fifth game in seven tries in Friday night's NBA 2K simulation. They managed to take down the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 74-69, who were no doubt hindered by the absence of young star Ben Simmons.
Bradley Beal starred with 28 points in the game, including 10 in the first quarter, but it was Shabazz Napier who sealed the deal with eight points in the decisive fourth quarter. With 30 seconds left in the game, Napier rebounded his own miss and found Thomas Bryant for a short jumper to seal the victory.
Napier finished with 14 points and 6 assists, and he and Beal combined to go a perfect 8-8 at the free throw line in the game.
The young guard also dished it out, including one of the game's biggest highlights when he found a flying Rui Hachimura above the rim.
Here are some key takeaways from the Wizards' latest win.
Strong runs bookend the game
The Wizards struggled in the middle of the game, but they both started and finished strong.
Buoyed by their strong defense, the Wizards took advantage of Ben Simmons' injury to completely stifle the 76ers early. After the first quarter, Washington led 19-10 and looked like they might run away with the game.
After allowing the 76ers to chip away in the second and third quarters, the Wizards found themselves trailing midway through the fourth quarter. Then, Napier and Beal took over once more, combining for 14 points in the quarter during a key 18-4 Wizards run.
Strong paint performance
The Wizards allowed Philadelphia to record seven blocks in the game, but otherwise dominated in the paint. Even without Ben Simmons on the floor, 76ers center Joel Embiid couldn't get going, finishing the first half with zero points.
On the other side of the court, the Wizards saw great production from their frontcourt. Thomas Bryant has been consistently pulling in rebounds in recent games, and that remained true with nine more boards Friday night.
Moe Wagner was all over the place for the Wizards as well, just missing a double-double. He finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds, to go along with 3 blocks.
Overall, the Wizards outscored the 76ers 46-32 in the paint in the game.
Wizards overcome lack of 3-point shooting
In the era of pace-and-space, it's rare to see a team win without shooting the ball well. But that's exactly what happened Friday night. While the Wizards enjoyed a big advantage in the paint, they struggled to find their shots from beyond the arc.
Washington made just two 3-point shots in the game, attempting only six. Bradley Beal missed his only attempt from long range, and notorious marksman Davis Bertans finished the game with zero total shot attempts.
The 76ers' shooting night wasn't much better. Philadelphia finished 6-of-18 on three-point shots, with Tobias Harris making half of those thanks to a 3-for-5 night.
Other parting thoughts
Beal may not have had the game's biggest highlights, but even in the virtual world he cannot be stopped from scoring.
When Bradley Beal goes 1-on-1 with a defender in 2K pic.twitter.com/ZKdUsOk2EF— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) April 3, 2020
Brad sure loves dunking in these simulations*— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) April 3, 2020
*We love it too pic.twitter.com/MRAgMZOA5y
Scoring 28 points in 26 minutes is the definition of a video game statline. His 12 points in the third quarter were crucial in keeping the Wizards in the lead.
Rui showing off the vision! pic.twitter.com/5FGUueIfTp— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) April 3, 2020
Rui Hachimura may not have had his best statistical performance, but one of the top rookies in the league managed to impress with his court vision.
BIG play on both ends to cut the lead to 2 pic.twitter.com/bR7SJQqEUX— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) April 3, 2020
There are few things more beautiful in (virtual) basketball than great defense turning into easy transition offense.
Having won five of their last seven games, the 2K Wizards will head to Indiana Sunday to take on a quality virtual Pacers team.
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