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Beal scores 30 as Wizards beat Knicks, 114-96
In Washington’s final game before the All-Star break, the Wizards (20-33) notched a 114-96 win over the Knicks (17-38) Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The win gives the team its first sweep of a back-to-back and concludes a 5-2 stretch to close the unofficial first half of the season.
Bradley Beal scored a game-high 30 points, his 12th consecutive game with 25-plus points, the longest active streak in the league and longest such streak by a Washington player since Walt Bellamy in 1964. The game was Beal’s 23rd 30-point game of the season – only four players in the league have more 30-point games this season.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said postgame. “We played last night, got in late. The Knicks have been playing really well. We knew we wanted to keep improving and taking advantage of opportunities. Our guys responded.”
Both teams struggled from the field to start, combining to shoot just 2-12 in the opening minutes. Beal and Isaac Bonga hit jumpers on consecutive possessions to snap the scoring drought on the Wizards’ end. Washington shot just 2-9 (.222) from deep in the opening quarter, including 0-3 from Beal, but led by one after 12 minutes.
Washington led for most of the second quarter, thanks in part to the Knicks going 0-6 from 3-point range, but New York closed the half on a 10-0 run and took a four-point lead in the break.
Thirty seconds into the third quarter with the Wizards down six, Hachimura opened Washington’s second half scoring, hitting a tricky pull-up jumper from the elbow. Ish Smith did the same on the following possession. Then, after a steal and full-court pass from Bonga, Hachimura converted, through a foul, on a layup to tie the game at 52. The Wizards took the lead on the next possession and held onto it for all but 30 seconds of the remaining 10:08 of the third quarter.
Beal scored 10 of his 30 points in a span of 6:52 in the fourth quarter, shooting 3-4 (.750) from the field and 2-2 (1.000) from deep. As a team, Washington shot 10-14 (.714) in the fourth quarter and used a 31-14 run over seven minutes. That run coincided almost entirely with Beal’s fourth quarter shift, building the lead up to 20.
“We’re in a good spot,” Beal said. “I wish we could have had a few more (games) before the break. We lost two that I feel we could have won, but for the most part we are in a good position. We can make a lot of noise coming out of the break, we set ourselves up, so we have to come back next Wednesday ready to go.”
Julius Randle, who scored 30-plus points in each of the teams’ two prior meeting this season, led the way for New York with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Davis Bertans scored 16 points and shot 2-6 (.333) from three. Bertans has now hit multiple 3-pointers in 15 of the 16 games since retuning from injury on January 10.
This Wizards won’t play again until next Friday, February 21 at 7:00 P.M., hosting the Cavaliers (14-40) at Capital One Arena. This weekend at NBA All-Star, Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner will participate in Friday night’s Rising Stars Challenge and Davis Bertans will participate in Saturday night’s 3-point Shootout.