Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Detroit Pistons on January 20, 2020 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards top Pistons as Beal climbs franchise's all-time scoring list

Behind 20-point performances from Bradley Beal and Ian Mahinmi, the Wizards (14-28) defeated the Pistons (16-28) 106-100 in a matinee matchup as part of the NBA’s league-wide celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In addition to his team-high 29 points, Beal climbed the Wizards’ record books in a couple categories on Monday afternoon.

Early in the third quarter, Beal scored points 17 and 18 of the night on a pull-up jumper and passed Bullets legend Wes Unseld for sole possession of fourth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Late in the third, Beal tallied his sixth assist of the night and moved up on the franchise’s all-time assists list, tying Gilbert Arenas for sixth with 2,046.

Mahinmi finished the game with 21 points on 9-10 (.900) shooting to go along with seven rebounds. The game was Mahinmi’s second career 20-point performance, both of which have taken place this season. On December 30, Mahinmi scored 25 points on 10-11 (.909) shooting against the Heat. Mahinmi is now just the third player this season with multiple games shooting 90.0% or better on 10-plus field goal attempts, joining Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside, who have each done so twice as well.

“It’s a good feeling,” Mahinmi said postgame. “You know me, I’m not a really big stat guy. Honestly, I like to impact the game especially on the defensive end. When I have nights like that, when things are going well offensively, my teammates are looking for me, it’s a good feeling. I don’t pay too much attention to it, but I appreciate it. If you see the way I scored today, it’s really a credit to my teammates. They find me at the right the time, the right place to dunk the ball, to shoot a couple of threes. It’s a great feeling.”

Beal scored 10 of his 29 points in the first quarter, including a highlight reel step-back 3-pointer and driving reverse layup on consecutive possessions to help the Wizards jump out to an early lead. As a team, the Wizards made three of their first four attempts from beyond the arc. The Pistons, however, were even hotter in the first quarter, hitting 14-21 (.667) from the field and 5-10 (.500) from 3-point range and went on a 17-5 run to take an eight-point lead late in the first.

The Wizards’ defense tightened up in the second, allowing just 23 points from the Pistons on 9-23 (.391) from the field. After Washington fell behind 49-41, the team allowed just nine points over the first half’s remaining 6:58 and took a two-point lead into the halftime break. The bench duo of Thomas Bryant and Ish Smith led the way for the Wizards in the second quarter, combining to shoot 6-8 (.750) from the field for 14 points.

The Wizards shot 52.4% from the field in the third quarter, but went just 1-5 (.200) from 3-point range and did not attempt a single free throw. The defense, on the other hand, made up for the lack of scoring and held the Pistons under 40.0% shooting for the second quarter in a row.

The fourth belonged to Beal and Mahinmi. The tandem combined for 14 points in the final frame and helped the Wizards build their lead to double digits with just under three minutes to go in the game. A quick 6-0 run by the Pistons, aided by a triple from Svi Mykhailiuk and a pair of Wizards turnovers, pulled Detroit to within four with under a minute to go. On the following possession, Beal isolated and converted on a step-back, elbow jumper to extend the Wizards lead and clinch the win.

“Defensively, I thought we did a great job of making them take tough shots and we did a pretty good job of keeping them off the offensive glass,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “There were a couple late turnovers but I thought the second half was much better at taking care of the basketball. Ian [Mahinmi] was all over the floor. I thought he played outstanding on both ends. Throughout the game, he gave us great defensive presence and awareness. Brad [Beal] had a big shot, hit a couple of big free throws down the stretch.”

With the victory, the Wizards have now won 10 in a row over the Pistons at home, took the season series against Detroit 3-1 and improved to 6-0 on the season on Mondays.

Up next, the Wizards embark on a four-game road trip beginning with a back-to-back on Wednesday against the Heat and Thursday against the Cavaliers. Then, after two days off, Washington takes on the Hawks on Sunday and concludes the trip next Tuesday against the Bucks.

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