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Recap: Wizards win a 149-146 thriller over Nets as Westbrook, Beal combine for 78
FINAL: Wizards 149 | Nets 146
Wizards: Russell Westbrook (41), Bradley Beal (37), Moritz Wagner (17)
Nets: Kevin Durant (37), Joe Harris (30), Kyrie Irving (26)
In one of the most thrilling games of the season, the Wizards defeated the Nets 149-146 on Sunday night with an 8-0 run in the final eight seconds of the game. After Kyrie Irving hit a pair of free throws to put Brooklyn up five with 12 seconds left in the game, Bradley Beal raced up the court and converted on a pull-up 3-pointer to cut the lead to two. Garrison Mathews intercepted the Nets’ inbounds pass and quickly found Russell Westbrook, who knocked down the game-winning three with 4.3 seconds left.
“This was the craziest game, one of the craziest – if not the craziest that I’ve ever been around,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said postgame. “We fought, we battled, we clawed and we gave ourselves a chance. Hopefully this is the start of something that we’re going to be pretty proud of.”
Westbrook led the way with a season-high 41 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Beal finished with 37 points, 22 of which came in the fourth quarter. The Wizards’ star backcourt combined for 37 points on 68.4% from the field in the fourth quarter.
Beal now has 10 games this season with 30-plus points, tied for the most in the NBA. He’s scored at least 25 points in 15 straight games, one shy of tying Michael Jordan for the longest such streak to start a season since the NBA-ABA merger.
The Nets, playing without newly acquired guard and three-time scoring champion James Harden (left thigh contusion), jumped out to an early 14-4 lead when Kevin Durant and Joe Harris each knocked down a pair of threes in the first 3:04 of the game. As a team, Brooklyn shot 7-11 (.636) from deep in the first quarter and controlled most of the first quarter. Westbrook kept Washington afloat, scoring 11 points in the first on 4-6 (.667) from the field and 2-2 (1.000) from 3-point range. Davis Bertans knocked down a running 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer to cut what had been an 18-point Nets lead to 10. Washington’s run carried into the second quarter as Moe Wagner and Ish Smith scored eight consecutive points for the Wizards before a Westbrook layup cut the lead to one. From 2:58 in the first quarter to 9:50 left in the second, the Wizards went on a 24-7 run. After Brooklyn countered to re-take a nine-point lead, the Wizards stormed back again, this time taking the lead on Bradley Beal and-one layup. Durant scored seven points in the final 3:20 of the half to give the Nets a 71-65 lead.
The scoring pace continued into the third quarter as Washington and Brooklyn combined for 73 points and 56.0% from the floor. The Wizards’ struggles from beyond the arc persisted, but seven points from Westbrook and 19 bench points kept the Wizards within reach heading into the fourth. Down by as many as 10 early in the final frame, the Wizards slowly worked their way back into reach behind their backcourt heroics. As a team, the Wizards shot 60.0% from the field and 50.0% from three on their way to 48 points, the most they’ve scored in a single quarter this season, putting them in position for the game-winning sequence. After Westbrook nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer, the Nets had a chance at a game-winner of their own, but missed a layup with less than a second left.
The Wizards win snaps a four-game losing streak and gives them four consecutive home wins over the Nets in D.C.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Westbrook does it all for Washington
Coming off a then-season-high 26 points Friday against Atlanta, Westbrook turned in his best performance of the season when the Wizards needed it most. His 41 points, the most he’s scored since February of 2020, came by way an efficient 16-28 (.571) from the field, 4-7 (.571) from 3-point range and 5-7 (.714) at the free throw line. He was active on the defensive end, adding two steals and a block. Westbrook did most of his damage in the second half, totaling 22 points, six rebounds, seven assists and zero turnovers.
“Russell willed this game,” Brooks said. “This is what he does. He can do it every night. He doesn’t take nights off…He plays hard, he competes, he lays everything on the floor.”
Smith, Wagner shine as three more Wizards return to action
After Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura and Moe Wagner returned from health and safety protocols on Friday, it was Deni Avdija and Ish Smith on Sunday who saw their first game action in 20 days. Troy Brown Jr. dressed, but did not play. Wagner and Smith each played their best games of the year. Wagner finished with a season-high 17 points, highlighted by four dunks and a buzzer-beating jumper at the end of the third quarter. Smith finished with a season-high 13 points and got an early start, scoring seven points on 3-4 (.750) from the field in the first quarter, and made his presence known on both ends. Smith finished with two steals and a block from behind defending Kyrie Irving in isolation.
“I thought Ish and Moe came in and turned the game around,” Brooks said postgame. They just absolutely came in and turned the game around. That just tells you right there – do the right things and be patient, and when your time comes, make and impact. They both made an impact tonight.”
Durant, Harris fuel Nets offense
The back-and-forth affair featured high-scoring, star-level performances on both ends. The Nets were led by 37 points from Kevin Durant and 30 points from Joe Harris. The duo combined to shoot 61.1% from the field and Harris alone shot 8-13 (.615) from three. Durant and Harris were two of four Nets players to top the 20-point mark – Irving (26 points) and former Wizard Jeff Green (23 points) did so as well. As a team, the Nets shot 56.8% from the field and 52.8% from 3-point range.
NEXT UP: Trail Blazers at Wizards / Tuesday, February 2 / 8:00 P.M. / Capital One Arena
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
GARRISON TO RUSS pic.twitter.com/vJvxKJjNfE— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 1, 2021