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Recap: Wizards beat Suns 128-107 behind Beal's 34
FINAL: Wizards 128 | Suns 107
Wizards: Bradley Beal (34), Davis Bertans (18), Raul Neto (16)
Suns: Devin Booker (33), Chris Paul (14), Mikal Bridges (14)
Led by 34 points, eight rebounds and nine assists from Bradley Beal, the Wizards defeated the Suns 128-107 on Monday night at Capital One Arena. With the win, the Wizards snap a three-game losing streak. The Wizards were playing without Russell Westbrook (left quadriceps soreness) and Thomas Bryant, who missed his first full game since partially tearing his ACL against Miami on Saturday night.
Beal led the Wizards out of the gate, scoring 10 early points as Washington jumped out to a 20-10 lead. After one quarter, the Wizards led 29-15. Beal played all 12 minutes of the opening frame and scored or assisted on 25 of the Wizards’ 29 points. Washington dialed it up in the second quarter. Davis Bertans, who scored 15 points on 5-6 (.833) from three in the second quarter alone, capped a 37-10 Wizards run with 5:05 left in the first half that gave Washington a 57-25 lead. Beal, Bertans and Isaac Bonga all converted from deep to fuel the run. For Bertans, it was the fourth time since the start of the 2019-20 season he has made five-plus 3-pointers in a single quarter. No player has recorded more such quarters in that time.
The Wizards led 68-42 at halftime. Beal, Bertans and Robin Lopez, who started in place of the injured Bryant, combined to score as many points as the entire Suns rotation in the first half.
Washington gave up no ground in the third, pushing their lead to 31 just over mid-way through the third. The Suns found some rhythm in the third quarter, shooting 15-26 (.577) from the field, but continued to struggle from deep, hitting just 1-8 (.125). Beal, like he did in the first quarter, played all 12 minutes of the third. He scored 17 points on 7-9 (.777), leading a Wizards offense that shot 15-24 (.625) from the field. In the fourth, it was Garrison Mathews that led the way for Washington, scoring nine of his 11 points. Phoenix made up some ground, but never got within 20 points.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Beal makes history in return to lineup
Coming into Monday’s matchup with the Suns, Beal was averaging a league-high 35.0 points per game – including 50.5 in his last two outings. He carried the load for Washington in the first and third quarters and finished the night with 34 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Beal has now scored at least 25 points in all 10 of his games this season, becoming just the fourth player since 1976 to start a season with such a streak. Only Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Orlando Woolridge can say the same. Beal also holds the league’s longest streak of 20-point games at 33 – 20 games more than the next-closest player (Collin Sexton).
Lopez, Wagner step up in first game without Bryant
From the moment Bryant went down with a knee injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Miami, Lopez has stepped into his role on both ends of the court. After scoring 13 points on 5-6 (.833) from the field versus the Heat, Lopez was efficient and effective again Monday against Phoenix. Playing against the team that drafted him in 2008, Lopez wasted no time making his presence known on the defensive end, holding Deandre Ayton to zero points in the first quarter. Ayton finished with just eight points on 4-10 (.400) shooting. Lopez notched his first double-double of the season, totaling 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Moe Wagner finished with nine points on 3-5 (.600) shooting and six rebounds in 22 minutes to spell Lopez off the bench. Early in the second quarter, Wagner drew a key third foul against Mikal Bridges, who was coming off a career-high 34 points in his last game, forcing the Suns wing to the bench for the remainder of the first half.
“Both of them played well,” Brooks said. “We have to do it by committee…Both guys are going to get good minutes…Robin knows how to play. He’s a good veteran, getting in better shape. I thought his defensive presence was good at the basket. He’s a good target and we’re looking for him.”
Wizards put on season-best defensive performance
Postgame, Brooks cited the Wizards’ pregame shootaround as one of the keys to Washington’s outstanding defensive performance Monday night against the Suns. The Wizards allowed season lows in points (107) and 3-point field goal percentage (14.8%), all of which started with a standout first quarter showing. In the opening frame, the Wizards allowed just 15 points, their fewest points allowed in a first quarter this season. Washington held Phoenix to 6-21 (.286) from the field and 1-7 (.143) from 3-point range in that time.
“We were active,” Brooks said postgame. “They did miss some open threes – we can’t take credit for everything. They missed some open shots, but I thought our offense helped our defense. We were taking care of the ball, we had good, proper spacing, we took good shots and that allows you to get back in transition. They didn’t get a lot of transition points. And that’s how we want to play.”
NEXT UP: Jazz at Wizards / Wednesday, January 13 / 7:00 P.M. / Capital One Arena
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT