Layne Murdoch Sr./NBAE via Getty Images
Thunder outduel Wizards late, 121-112
Bradley Beal's 41 points were not enough in Oklahoma City on Thursday night
Photos | Box Score
A long road trip continued against a hot Oklahoma City Thunder team on Thursday night, with the Wizards coming up short, 121-112. Bradley Beal scored 41 points to go along with 12 rebounds and nine assists, but his heroics were not enough against Russell Westbrook’s 46 points and the Thunder’s tough defense. Beal set a record with his 780th career 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, the most by a player before his 25th birthday in NBA history.
The Thunder stifled the Wizards in the opening minutes, starting the game out 10-0. It took the Wizards more than four minutes to get on the board, with Steven Adams dominating the boards and leading the Thunder to have 20 of their 25 first quarter points in the paint. The Wizards would shoot only 36.4% in the quarter and turn it over five times, a ball control trend that would continue throughout the game.
Oklahoma City then opened up a 19-point lead in the second quarter, anchored by a 13-0 run. The Wizards had six turnovers in the second quarter for 11 Thunder points, and would only have 40 points at the half. The Wizards missed too many layups in the second quarter, which held them back early. The Thunder would lead 54-40 heading into the locker room, with Beal leading the Wizards with 14 points.
The Wizards were a different team in the third quarter, thriving off an 11-0 run to tie the game at 68-68. Markieff Morris, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, fueled the Wizards with 10 points and four rebounds. John Wall had eight of his 12 assists in the third, facilitating the offense. Most importantly, the Wizards were able to hold the Thunder to 8-of-18 shooting and force five turnovers. Despite the comeback, the Wizards still turned it over six times in the third, and would trail by eight heading into the fourth.
Westbrook and Beal went back and forth in the fourth quarter, with Westbrook scoring 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Beal and Wall each hit four triples in the fourth, but could not get enough stops to get the game back into striking range. Washington turned it over another six times in the final period, bringing their total to 23 turnovers for 36 Thunder points. Even though he only made 6-of-19 shots for 18 points on the night, Paul George was all over the Wizards and led their tough defense.
Beal kept the Wizards alive late with 18 points in the fourth quarter, as the Thunder did not have an answer for him all night. The first-time All-Star finished with a career-high tying 12 rebounds and seven assists as well, making six 3-pointers and 15-of-26 shots overall.
In addition to the points off turnovers, the Thunder dominated the fast break (22-11 officially) and the paint (60-40). The Wizards never led in the game, but their comeback in the second half showed fight in a first half that looked like a lost cause.
Beal summarized what happened after the game, proving their scouting report, but not their play in the actual game, was spot on. “It’s crazy because our scout said, ‘If we don’t rebound and we turn the ball over, we are going to lose,’ and that’s exactly what happened.”
"We were moving the ball, pushing in transition, getting stops and getting rebounds," Beal said. "All of a sudden that died down and stopped. When that happened, the game just totally flipped in their favor and the momentum changed. We definitely battled and competed, but it definitely wasn’t enough.”
The Wizards (26-22) have now lost four of their last five games and will finish their road trip on Saturday in Atlanta.