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FINAL: Wizards 136 | Sixers 141
Wizards: Bradley Beal (60), Russell Westbrook (20), Davis Bertans (17)
Sixers: Joel Embiid (38), Seth Curry (28) Tobias Harris (19), Shake Milton (19)
Despite Bradley Beal tying a franchise-record with 60 points, the Wizards lost 141-136 to the Sixers on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half before a comeback between the late third and early fourth quarters. Beal finished the night 20-35 (.571) from the field, 7-10 (.700) from 3-point range and 13-15 (.866) from the free throw line.
Beal scored 13 points in the first quarter, shooting 5-8 (.625) from the field and 2-2 (1.000) from 3-point range, but the Wizards struggled to contain the Sixers offense. Philadelphia scored 33 points on 12-23 (.522) from the field, led by Seth Curry, who scored 15 points on 5-5 (1.000) shooting in the opening frame. The second quarter, in which Philadelphia outscored the Wizards 49-43, was the highest-scoring second quarter in NBA history. Beal poured in another 19 points while Davis Bertans knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to pace the Wizards’ offense. The Sixers shot 18-22 (.818) from the field and 6-7 (.857) from 3-point range in the second, led by a combined 26 points from Joel Embiid and Shake Milton. After falling behind by 19, a 14-5 Wizards run pulled the game within 10 in the final minute of the half.
Philadelphia came out hot in the third quarter, hitting six of their first seven shots and jumping out to a 21-point lead. The Wizards sustained the run and began to slowly work their way back over the remainder of the third and into the fourth. In the third quarter alone, Beal scored 25 of his 60 points, shooting 8-13 (.615) from the field, 3-3 (1.000) from three and 6-6 (1.000) from the free throw line. Beal sparked a 10-0 Wizards run with just under three minutes left to go in the third cut the lead to single digits.
In the fourth quarter, Washington’s reserves led the remainder of the team’s comeback. Buckets from Robin Lopez, Raul Neto and Ish Smith were crucial as Washington eliminated what was left of the Sixers’ lead and took the lead on a Neto jumper with 8:18 remaining, completing a 27-7 Wizards run. After a Thomas Bryant put-back layup with four minutes remaining tied the game at 131, Joel Embiid took over. The Sixers’ center scored eight points in the ensuing 1:21 to give Philadelphia an eight-point lead and secure the win.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Beal’s historic scoring night
Beal entered the game looking to make it eight straight games with 25-plus points to start the season. He hit that mark with 4:21 remaining in the second quarter. Beal’s 60-point performance ties the franchise’s all-time record set by Gilbert Arenas in 2007. Beal, however, becomes the first and only player in franchise history to do so in regulation. Beal scored 57 points in the first three quarters, including 25 in the third quarter. Beal’s performance, though, wasn’t limited to scoring. He totaled seven rebounds and five assists, giving him five-plus assists in three consecutive games.
“(He’s a) special player,” Brooks said postgame. “I’ve been with him for five years and every year he’s gotten better. He’s been an All-Star every year, in my mind, an All-NBA player. Hopefully, the rest of the league will understand that. He gets better every year. His leadership is definitely high-level. Knowing him, he’s pissed off. He got 60 points and we lost. We had a chance to come back and win this game. He’s about winning. He can score a lot of points on any team, any given night, but he wants to lead us to victories.”
Beal becomes the fifth player in the NBA to score 60 points in a game since the start of the 2018-19 season and joins Stephen Curry as the only players to do so this season.
Westbrook nears triple-double, departs with injury
After totaling 20 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists in 39 minutes of action, Russell Westbrook left the game early and returned to the locker room holding his right hand. Postgame, Westbrook said he dislocated his finger, but was unsure of the extent of the injury or whether or not it would cause him to miss any time. The Wizards next take the court Friday night in Boston in the first night of a back-to-back. Washington plays Miami in D.C. the following day.
Embiid leads the way for Philly
After a 29-point, 14-rebound outing in Washington’s opening night matchup with Philadelphia, Embiid imposed his will once again against the Wizards. On Wednesday night, Embiid scored 38 points on 11-20 (.550) from the field, 3-4 (.750) from 3-point range and a perfect 13-13 from the free throw line. The Wizards were successful against Embiid in the early going, holding him to one point on 0-6 shooting in the first quarter. Embiid was pivotal in the game’s closing minutes and finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks in the decisive fourth quarter.
“It’s tough,” Beal said. “We understand what Joel is capable of doing down there. We understand that every time down the floor they’re trying to run their offense through him. He draws so much attention.”
NEXT UP: Wizards at Celtics / Friday, January 8 / 7:30 P.M. / TD Garden
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT