Wizards fall to Suns in return home, 122-116
After leading by as many as 22, the Wizards could not hold on at home
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The Wizards returned home from a four-game West coast trip to face the Suns on Wednesday, but Phoenix came back in the second half to win 122-116. Washington built a double-digit lead into halftime and Bradley Beal scored a season-high 40 points, but T.J. Warren and Devin Booker led the Suns to victory with 107 points in the second, third, and fourth quarters combined.
All seemed well in the first 12 minutes, as the Wizards opened up a 32-15 lead through one quarter. Washington shot 52.4%, while the Suns only made 5-of-22 (22.7%) field goals. Beal had 11 in the first quarter, and the Wizards seemed in complete control with a 9-for-13 start from the field.
The Wizards would open up a 22-point lead with 9:39 left in the second quarter, as Mike Scott gave them a huge boost off the bench. Scott would end the game with 12 points, scoring in double digits for the third straight game for the first time since April of 2014. The Suns would find some rhythm later in the second quarter, as Booker scored 13 of his 22 points and brought them within 12 at the half. Phoenix outscored Washington 37-32 in the second quarter, and they were beginning to close the gap entering the half.
A quick 9-2 run out of halftime suddenly brought the Suns within three points. Phoenix would shoot 13-for-20 (65.0%) in the third quarter overall, with Warren scoring 19 of his 40 points in the period. John Wall had nine of his 21 points in the third and Beal added 11, but the rest of the team struggled to get anything going offensively. The Suns made all eight of their shots in the paint and the Wizards simply could not string together any stops. Heading into the fourth, the Suns brought the game within three points.
In the fourth quarter, the Suns woulds tay hot, shooting 57.1% while the Wizards only made 37.5% of their field goals. The Suns took their first lead early in the fourth quarter with 10:46 to go, 91-90. The teams went back and forth with lead changes, but the Suns took full control of the game after a Warren and-one with 3:17 to go. The Wizards only stopped the Suns on one of nine possessions in the final 4:45, and couldn't keep up offensively.
The Wizards were without Otto Porter Jr. (illness) and Markieff Morris (suspension), which gave Kelly Oubre Jr. and Jason Smith's starts at small forward and power forward respectively. Morris has not played this season, but he was cleared to play tonight. The Wizards missed Porter especially tonight, as he would have helped guard Warren and added an offensive spark and depth. Both Oubre and Smith were in foul trouble all night and struggled offensively.
After a strong first quarter, the Suns scored 107 points. The Suns showed fight on a back-to-back on the road after playing in Brooklyn last night, but defensive consistency has been a point of emphasis over the last season-plus.
“We have to challenge ourselves," Beal said postgame. "That is all it is at the end of the day. We cannot worry about offense. We score enough points every game to win the game. It is just a matter of us stopping guys, getting stops.
“If we don’t have the defensive urgency, you’re not going to have success," Scott Brooks said postgame. "We were shorthanded and guys didn’t lock in."Next up, the Wizards (4-3) will host the Cavaliers (3-5) on Friday in an important early season battle among two of the East's most talented teams.