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Wizards win fourth straight, 102-100
Beal and Wall combined for 59 points and 14 assists in Memphis
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Led by 59 combined points from their backcourt, the Wizards held on late in Memphis for a 102-100 win over the Grizzlies on Friday night. Bradley Beal scored 34 points with five rebounds and five assists while John Wall added 25 points, nine assists, and four steals. Markieff Morris had a career-high tying 17 rebounds to go along with 12 points, his second straight double-double. Of note, Otto Porter Jr. left in the second half due to back tightness and did not return.
The Wizards, playing on the first night of a back-to-back, came through with a 21-7 run to end the first quarter. Wall was a perfect 4-for-4 in the opening period with 10 points and two assists, while Beal added eight points. Washington had seven second chance points, but struggled to finish in the paint with only 5-of-16 shooting down low.
Mike Scott gave the Wizards a boost off the bench once again with 10 points, and hit a crucial 3-pointer with the Grizzlies fighting back in the second quarter. Morris had nine of his 17 rebounds in the first half, and his presence down low would be a huge difference in the game. Facing Marc Gasol is no easy task, but Morris and Marcin Gortat also held Gasol to only 5-of-15 shooting on the night for 17 points. The Wizards had 11 fast break points and 14 points off turnovers and led at the half, 58-50.
The Wizards would open up a 17-point lead in the third quarter as the team began to click on all cylinders offensively. Beal had 13 of his 34 in the third quarter, as he nailed four triples. Wall had nine of his own, as the Wizards led by 15 heading into the fourth quarter. Washington held Memphis to only 33.3% shooting in the third quarter, but it was the Wizards who couldn’t buy a bucket in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies came all the way back to bring the game to one point with 18.4 seconds to go after a Tyreke Evans triple. Beal hit two clutch free throws after that, another Evans triple came up way short to try to tie the game, and Morris put the game away with two more free throws. The Wizards only made 2-of-16 field goals in the final quarter, but made 11-of-14 free throws to stay in front and never give up the lead.
Friday night was all about the Wizards’ backcourt, with Wall and Beal combining for 59 points and 14 assists. For the third straight game, they scored or assisted on the majority of the Wizards’ points. In fact, in the third quarter, Wall and Beal scored or assisted on 26 of the team’s 29 points.
Beal delivered his seventh 30-plus point game of the season as he continues to build his All-Star case. He made 9-of-18 field goals, including 5-of-10 from deep, and all 11 of his free throws. Beal had five assists and did not turn the ball over once. He was also an important factor with Wall in holding Evans to 26 points on 24 shots.
Wall looked as fresh and aggressive as he has all season. With 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 3-of-5 from deep, and 6-of-8 from the free throw line, Wall was scoring at will and making his jump shots. He started 8-of-11 from the field and struggled late, but overall had one of his best games of the year offensively. The four-time All-Star would have had a double-double with assists if it wasn’t for a few missed open shots.
The Wizards (23-16) have now won four in a row, six of their last seven games, and are 9-3 since Wall returned from injury. With five straight games at home before a five-game road trip, the Wizards will look to build on their run on Saturday night in the second leg of a back-to-back against the Bucks at 8:00pm.