Washington Wizards v Sacramento Kings
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 3: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings smiles during a game against the Washington Wizards on March 3, 2020 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards mount 28-point comeback, fall 133-126 against Kings

The Wizards (22-38) fell 133-126 to the Kings (27-34) Tuesday night, despite 35 points from Bradley Beal and an historic third quarter comeback. Down by 27 at halftime, the Wizards outscored the Kings 46-19 in the third quarter to enter the fourth tied at 95, becoming the first team since 2002 to erase a 27-point deficit in one quarter.

Beal, who entered the game averaging 42.8 points per game in his last five outings, shot 11-24 (.458) from the field and 11-15 (.733) from the line, earning his 19th consecutive game with 25-plus points. He now has 17 games this season with 35-plus points, third most in the league behind only James Harden and Trae Young.

Sacramento’s success started immediately, opening the game on an 8-0 run. Washington worked the deficit down to four, but Sacramento countered, taking back a double-digit advantage on an 18-4 run late in the first quarter. The Wizards’ bench unit, led by Troy Brown Jr. and Ish Smith, cut an 18-point Kings’ lead down to 12 early in the second quarter, but another Sacramento run came shortly thereafter. With 8:28 left in the second quarter, Buddy Hield hit jumpers on consecutive possessions to spark a 20-4 Sacramento run over the next three minutes and give the Kings a 23-point lead and an eventually 76-49 halftime advantage.

“We showed enough clips at halftime to show that we weren’t playing with [any] toughness,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “We were back on every pass, every shot and every rebound. We didn’t play with the physicality that you need to do to compete. [Sacramento] is playing better – they have a lot of talent – but we gave them everything they want.”

Everything flipped for the Wizards in the third quarter. Just over two minutes in, with Washington down 26, a 3-pointer from Thomas Bryant woke the Wizards up. Bryant’s triple preceded seven straight points from Beal and marked the start of a 19-0 run that took just 3:26 of game time. Minutes later, with the deficit stuck at seven, Jerome Robinson hit a three to cut the lead to four points. Davis Bertans hit his second three of the night to bring the Wizards within one and, after a Kings bucket at the other end, hit another three to tie the game at 90. Bertans wasn’t done yet. With 33.6 seconds left in the half, the Latvian Laser hit from deep again, tying the game at 95.

Bertans finished with 18 points, shooting 6-12 (.500) from 3-point range. The game was his ninth game this season with at least six 3-pointers made, tied for most among reserves and trailing only four players overall.

Washington’s plus-27 margin in the third quarter tied the team’s third largest margin ever for a single quarter and was the largest since 1972. Their 46 points scored also marked a season high for any quarter. As a team, the Wizards shot 61.9% from the field and 56.2% from three in the third and assisted on 11-of-13 made field goals. Beal, who played all 12 minutes in the third, scored a team high 12 points on 3-5 (.600) shooting.

“It was just our intensity,” Beal said of the difference between the first half and the third quarter. “(We) just wanted to win, that’s how we played. First half, it was just like we were there. They brought the fight to us. And second half, coach lit a fire under us and we just came out [as] the team we should have been the whole game.”

The game swung back in Sacramento’s favor in the fourth quarter. The Kings rattled off a 10-1 to take a 109-100 lead, capped off by a Nemanja Bjelica 3-pointer with 7:34 remaining. Sacramento’s lead hit 13 before Beal led a Washington surge that whittled the lead down to four points with 17.3 seconds to play. The Kings, however, made their free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.

The Wizards are back at it tomorrow night, taking on the Blazers (27-35) at 10:00 P.M. ET in Portland.

With 35 points tonight against the Kings, Bradley Beal now has 17 games this season with 35-plus points, third most in the league behind on James Harden and Trae Young.

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