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Recap: Beal scores 41, Wizards comeback falls short in loss to Celtics
FINAL: Wizards 107 | Celtics 116
Wizards: Bradley Beal (41), Rui Hachimura (17), Davis Bertans (13)
Celtics: Jayson Tatum (32), Jaylen Brown (27), Marcus Smart (13)
In the final game of a four-game road trip, the Wizards were defeated 116-107 by the Celtics on Friday night at TD Garden. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 41 points while Jaylen Brown led the way for Boston with 32.
Beal, who scored 60 in the team’s last outing, picked up right where he left off, scoring 14 points in the first quarter on 6-9 (.667) from the field. The rest of the offense managed just 14 points of their own as Boston shot 50.0% from the field and 50.0% from 3-point range and led by five after the first. The second quarter was no better for Washington. Boston shot 13-19 (.684) from the field, led by 13 points from Brown, and outscored the Wizards 33-19 to take a 19-point lead into the halftime break.
The Celtics led by as many as 28 points in the third quarter before the Wizards mounted a comeback. Down 96-73, the Wizards opened up a 22-3 run sparked by a pair of steals from Ish Smith and Garrison Mathews that led to transition baskets. Beal played a sizeable role as well, scoring five points in the final 37 seconds of the third to give him 37 through three quarters.
“I thought Garrison came in, Moe (Wagner) came in and Ish came in and they changed the narrative,” Wizards head coach Scott Brook said. “You have to play hard and create opportunities. I thought they did that with their deflections, with their steals, with their pace. They played hard on both ends of the floor. They weren’t worried about making or missing a shot, they just played the right way.”
The Wizards run was capped by a Rui Hachimura 3-pointer to cut the lead to 99-95. Payton Pritchard knocked down a three to end the Washington run and start a quick 7-0 run that put the Celtics back up double digits. While a Davis Bertans 3-pointer with three minutes left cut the lead back down to five, the Wizards were unable to get any closer. Key shots from Tatum and Brown in the final minutes secured the Boston win.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Beal’s continues record scoring pace
Bradley Beal entered Friday night’s game leading the league with 34.2 points per game, nearly five more than the next-closest player (Stephen Curry) and nearly four more than he averaged last season. He was coming off a 60-point performance Wednesday against Philadelphia, setting a new career high and tying the franchise single-game scoring record. Against the Celtics, Beal stayed red hot, scoring 41 points in 38 minutes, including 37 in the first three quarters alone. With Friday’s performance, Beal becomes the first player this season to score 40-plus points in consecutive games. He’s now done so five times in his career and is the only Wizards player to have accomplished the feat since 2005.
Wizards face quick turnaround
Washington won’t have long to dwell on the loss to Boston. The Wizards are set to take on the Heat Saturday night in D.C., less than 24 hours after their matchup with the Celtics tipped off. The Friday-Saturday sequence marks Washington’s third back-to-back of the young season. The Wizards are 1-1 this season in the second game of a back-to-back.
Against the Celtics, four players played at least 30 minutes, led by Beal’s 38:11. How Friday’s workload will impact usage on Saturday night will be something to watch as the Wizards take on a Heat team coming off two days of rest.
Tatum, Brown combine for 59
Tatum and Brown have established themselves as one of the best young duos in the league and entered Friday’s game averaging a combined 52.5 points per game. Against the Wizards, the Boston wings combined for 59 points on 23-46 (.500) from the field. Tatum, who went head-to-head with Beal for much of the night, drew praise from his fellow St. Louis native following the game.
“He’s a basket,” Beal said. “He’s one of the best players in the league for a reason. I’m a huge fan. You know I always put him above everybody. It’s nothing but respect from both of us. I try to make it hard on him, but he had a great game.”
NEXT UP: Heat at Wizards / Saturday, January 9 / 7:00 P.M. / Capital One Arena
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT