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Recap: Wizards win 123-122 over Nets as Bryant's game-winner caps wild fourth quarter
FINAL: Wizards 123 | Nets 122
Wizards: Bradley Beal (27), Russell Westbrook (24), Thomas Bryant (21)
Nets: Kyrie Irving (30), Kevin Durant (28), Joe Harris (16)
The Wizards earned their second consecutive win, defeating the Nets 123-122 on Sunday night in Brooklyn. Bradley Beal, who totaled a team-high 27 points and 10 rebounds, drove baseline and found Thomas Bryant for the game-winning dunk with 14.9 seconds left to cap a back-and-forth fourth quarter that featured 12 lead changes.
“We’ve got some good players on our team that kept competing and kept figuring it out,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said after the win. “I thought we had a chance to extend the lead a couple times, but that is a tough – (Brooklyn is) a team that’s ready for the championship this year with all that talent they have. They just keep coming with talent. But I thought we competed.”
The Wizards’ offense struggled to get in a rhythm in the first quarter, shooting 11-30 (.367) from the field, but led 29-28 heading into the second quarter thanks to a strong start on the defensive end. Offenses on both ends kicked into gear in the second. Threes from Russell Westbrook and Davis Bertans on the Wizards’ first two possessions jump-started an 11-0 run to give Washington a 12-point lead with 10:45 left in the first half. Minutes later, Brooklyn countered. With the Nets down 11 with just over seven minutes left in the second quarter, Kevin Durant knocked down a three to spark a 17-6 Brooklyn run that tied the game at 55. After six consecutive Wizards’ points, Brooklyn closed the half strong and took a one-point lead into the break. Through two quarters, Beal and Nets guard Kyrie Irving led the way for their respective teams with 20 points apiece.
With the Wizards down 85-80 with 6:09 left in the third quarter, Beal knocked down a 3-pointer to pull within two and open a 12-2 Wizards run. A put-back layup by Beal three minutes later book-ended the stretch and put Washington up 94-87. Irving, however, took over in the final few minutes of the third, pulling the Nets back within one heading into the final frame.
With just under five minutes to go in the game and Washington up two, a Wizards turnover led to a Joe Harris three on the other end, giving the Nets a 112-111 lead. An Irving layup extended the lead to three before Davis Bertans knocked down his fourth 3-pointer of the night to tie the game at 114. The push and pull continued. A Bryant dunk and Westbrook turnaround put the Wizards up four before five straight Brooklyn points put the Nets up one with 1:56 remaining. After trading free throws, Brooklyn led 120-119 with 1:21 left in the game. Beal gave the Wizards the lead with a driving layup for his 27th point of the night, but Brooklyn took the lead back two possessions later when Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored in transition with 28 seconds left. Down 122-121, Beal missed what would have been a lead-taking jumper, but Bryant grabbed the offensive rebound and quickly filtered it back out to Beal. With time winding down, Beal wasted no time, driving baseline and executing a difficult pass to find Bryant under the basket for the dunk that put Washington up 123-122. Irving and Durant each got shots off on the other end, but were unable to convert.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Westbrook delivers in the fourth
After missing the Wizards’ win over in Minnesota on Friday night, Westbrook returned to the lineup on Sunday, but struggled from the field in the game’s early going. Through three quarters, he totaled nine assists, but just 11 points on 3-16 (.187) from the field and two rebounds. While his NBA-record streak of four consecutive triple-doubles to start the season would come to an end, Westbrook made his mark on the game, coming up big for the Wizards in the fourth quarter. He played all 12 minutes of the final frame, scoring 13 points, including nine of the Wizards’ first 15 points to start the quarter. Westbrook was particularly aggressive all night long, attempting a season-high 12 free throws – double his previous high of six set on December 31 against the Bulls.
Bryant tallies first double-double of the season
Bryant entered Sunday’s game on a hot streak, averaging 23.0 points per game on 94.4% from the field over the last two games. He dialed it up against Brooklyn, recording his first double-double of the season, capped by the game-winning offensive rebound and dunk in the game’s final seconds. The big man finished with 21 points on 9-12 (.750) shooting and 14 rebounds, the most he’s grabbed in a game since March 31, 2019.
Postgame, Bryant’s teammates praised his energy and development.
“TB has been awesome,” Beal said postgame. “He’s been growing every single game this year…He’s just been playing dominating basketball. The thing I love about him is he’s always willing to learn. He holds himself accountable.”
“Thomas has gotten better over the course of the years, just from being on the outside looking in and now being here daily,” Westbrook said. “You can see how good he can really be if he can lock in and stay focused on winning. He’s really good at bringing his energy and the basketball stuff will take care of itself. He did a good job of that tonight.”
Offensive rebounds, second-chance points make the difference
On Sunday, the Wizards set a new season high with 49 rebounds and while Brooklyn won the total rebounding battle 51-49, it was the work the Wizards did on the offensive boards that made the difference in the game. Washington grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, tying a season high and setting up pivotal secondary scoring opportunities. The Wizards scored 17 second-chance points to Brooklyn’s seven – and none more important than the game-winner. After Beal missed a jumper, Bryant grabbed one of his two offensive rebounds of the night, setting up the Wizards win.
NEXT UP: Wizards at Sixers / Wednesday, January 6 / 7:00 P.M. / Wells Fargo Center
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
WHAT A PLAY.— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 4, 2021
BRAD TO TB. pic.twitter.com/OOxmFP2VXA