Wizards win thriller in Phoenix, 124-121

The Wizards snapped their five-game losing streak with a thrilling 124-121 win over the Suns on Wednesday. Bradley Beal and Jabari Parker (career-high 15 rebounds) both scored 28 points, while Thomas Bryant added 18 points, 19 rebounds, and the game-winning three-point play in the win. Jordan McRae scored 21 points off the bench in a game that went down to the final possession. With the win, the Wizards avoided elimination from the playoffs.

The teams would go into the half tied at 59-59, with both struggling from the field, especially from beyond the arc. Parker led the Wizards with a double-double in the first half, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. McRae added 11 of his 21 points off the bench to give the Wizards a boost in the opening 24 minutes.

Devin Booker had 30 of his 50 points in the first half, making 10-of-14 shots and all eight of his free throws. Booker was a problem all night, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to score 50 points in back-to-back games. Booker made 14 of his first 18 shots, but only made five of his final 11.

Beal scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, going 8-of-13 from the field after only shooting 3-of-9 in the first half. Like most teams, the Suns had to give Beal extra attention down the stretch, which led Bryant to his late-game heroics. After the teams went back-and-forth in the second half, it was no surprise that the game went down to the wire.

With less than a minute to go and the Wizards and Suns tied at 118-118, the Suns double-teamed Beal in the halfcourt as the shot clock ticked down, forcing the ball out of the two-time All-Star’s hands. Beal found an open Bryant, who nailed a 26-foot 3-pointer to put the Wizards up three with 28.6 seconds to go. Jamal Crawford tied the game with a triple of his own with 17.1 seconds, and the Wizards drew up a play with a chance to win.

The Suns trapped Beal on the Wizards’ final possession, but Beal still found Bryant near the basket. This time, Bryant caught the alley-oop pass, laid it in, and drew the contact for the foul. Bryant would make the free throw and put the Wizards up three once again, this time for good. Troy Daniels’ wide-open 3-pointer on the corner did not go, and the Wizards escaped with a much-needed 124-121 victory.

“It was huge but it just goes back to the game where I threw him the ball and he shot the three,” Beal said of the final sequences. “When you constantly make those plays and when guys are in those positions they know to be ready because I’m going to throw you the ball. Or there’s a possibility I’m going to get rid of the ball. Two times tonight they forced me to get rid of the ball and you know me, I’m an unselfish player and if you’re open I’m going to throw it to you. He got to an open spot where I could throw him the rock and he hit a huge three and came back and hit a huge and one for us.”

“My teammates believe in me,” Bryant said postgame. “It’s a real big thing. I give it all to my teammates, they believe in me to make that shot, time and time after I missed so many shots this month, this year. To have that confidence is great. Right there in the huddle my teammates and coaches were telling me be ready to shoot the ball. We know you can. It felt great. No lie, it was a whole confidence boost for me.”

Along with Parker and Bobby Portis, Bryant’s effort on the boards and in the paint were a big difference in the game. Bryant, Parker, and Portis combined for 43 of the Wizards’ 52 rebounds, almost out-rebounding the Suns by themselves. Washington also outscored Phoenix 58-50 in the paint.

Next up, the Wizards continue their road trip in Utah against the Jazz on Friday night at 9:00 P.M.

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