Wizards beat Cavaliers 124-112 behind Beal's 36 points
In the second game of a road back-to-back, the Wizards (15-29) overcame an early double-digit deficit to defeat the Cavaliers (12-33) 124-112 on Thursday night. Bradley Beal scored 36 points, leading the team in scoring for the second night in a row, on 15-22 (.681) shooting to go along with eight assists. The win snaps a five-game road losing streak for the Wizards.
Beal now has 10 games this season with at least 35 points and nine games with at least 35 points and five assists – trailing only James Harden, Trae Young and Luka Doncic on both lists. Beal, who scored 38 points Wednesday night in Miami, becomes the fourth player this season to score 35 points in consecutive games at least three times.
“That guy, he’s money,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said of Beal postgame. “You’re an All-Star for a reason and he keeps leading us. That’s what I love about him. None of us expected this season to end up with the situation that we’ve had, but he’s led us and battled for us and puts us in a position to compete every night. He’s going to make shots. He’s a shot-maker. He’s a playmaker. He’s a good player and that’s what I can say. That’s why we’re being able to compete this year the way we have.”
After falling behind 18-6 in the first five minutes of the game, the Wizards shook off any lingering signs of fatigue from Wednesday night’s overtime game in Miami and mounted a quick comeback. A 13-0 run, started and finished by Thomas Bryant, took only three minutes and gave Washington a one-point lead with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter. The Wizards weren’t done there. After the Cavaliers retook the lead on a Larry Nance Jr. jumper, Washington went on a 21-6 run, capped off by a trio of Davis Bertans 3-pointers within 1:18 of each other. After trailing by 12 just minutes into the game, the Wizards now had a 14-point lead of their own with over 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
Bertans scored all 14 of his first-half points in the second quarter, including an and-one layup with 6:26 left in the second that reclaimed Washington’s double-digit lead after the Cavaliers had whittled it down to six. After Bertans checked out with 3:22 on the clock, Beal led the Wizards into halftime, scoring seven points in the final 2:37 of the half and assisting on a late Ish Smith 3-pointer that gave Washington its seven-point halftime lead.
Bertans went on to finish the game with 17 points on 6-10 (.600) from the field and 4-8 (.500) from 3-point range. Bertans now has 16 games this season with at least four 3-pointers off the bench, twice as many as the next-closest players on that list – Patty Mills and Terrence Ross each have eight.
Beal picked up in the third where he left off in the first half, scoring 11 points on 4-6 (.667) shooting and a pair of assists. Cleveland had an answer for everything the Wizards threw at them early in the third, but an Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer set off a 14-2 run to extend the Washington lead to 20.
After a Cleveland run cut the Wizards’ lead to nine, Smith hit a midrange jumper coming out of a Wizards timeout – and then another just one minute later to get Washington back on track. Smith finished the game with 17 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter alone. Beal checked back into the game with the Wizards up 10 and 7:17 left in the game and converted on a step-back three on his first offensive possession. He then sparked a run that put the Wizards back up by 19 with just under three minutes to go.
After two days off, the Wizards continue their four-game road trip Sunday night in Atlanta, taking on the Hawks (11-34) at 6:00 P.M. in the teams’ second matchup of the season. Washington topped Atlanta 111-101 on January 10, led by 29 points from Jordan McRae.