Wizards rebound impressively behind Beal’s 51
PORTLAND, Ore. — After the Wizards took a 47-point whipping at Utah on Monday night, Washington coach Scott Brooks was watching to see how his players would respond Tuesday night at Moda Center.
Brooks loved what he saw in the Wizards’ 106-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers — especially from guard Bradley Beal.
With backcourt mate John Wall sidelined for the sixth straight game due to a knee injury, Beal bombed in a career-high 51 points to carry the Wizards to victory.
“It was a great bounce-back game for all of our guys, but in particular, for Brad,” Brooks said. “He was feeling good, and I was keeping him in there.”
Beal, who came in averaging 22.1 points, scored only 11 points on 4-for-15 shooting against the Jazz. He had averaged 12.5 points in his previous four games.
Against Portland, the 6-foot-5 sixth-year pro scored 32 of his points in the second half. Beal had 12 points in the first quarter, seven in the second, 19 in the third and 13 in the fourth.
“I thought I was going to have a good game,” said Beal, who finished 21 of 37 from the field, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range, in 43 minutes. “That was my mentality coming into it. I was more locked in, more focused. In the previous games, I was thinking way too much out there instead of playing my game.
“Tonight, I put everything on the table, regardless of whether I made or missed shots. I was going to be a better leader, have good body language and do whatever it took to get a win.”
Beal scored more points in Portland than any Blazers opponent in the franchise’s 47-year history. The previous record of 49 points was shared by Atlanta’s Lou Hudson (1970) and Milwaukee’s Lew Alcindor (1972).
“It’s an honor,” Beal said. “I have a long way to go before I’m even considered in that category. To hold that record in this building, that speaks volumes, with all the guys who have come through here and done miraculous things. I’m proud of it, but I’m more proud of the win we got tonight.”
Did Beal dig deeper to provide offense in the absence of Wall?
“Yes and no,” he said. “I trust my teammates to make plays. It’s always next man up no matter who is on the floor. Tim (Frazier) and Tomas (Satoransky) do a great job of running the team. I did put a little bit more pressure on myself to carry a heavier load, but I have excellent guys around me who can make plays.”
Damian Lillard collected 30 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for the Trail Blazers, who lost their third straight game — all at home. Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu scored 17 points, and Jusuf Nurkic added 15 points and nine rebounds before leaving with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
Beal scored 12 of Washington’s first 18 points as the Wizards seized a 24-22 lead after one quarter.
Washington (13-11) started the second quarter on a 7-0 run to go ahead 31-22. The Wizards scored the final seven points of the quarter to go into the half leading 51-37 over the Blazers, who shot 34.2 percent and had 13 turnovers before the break.
Washington started the third quarter with a 10-1 spurt to increase the advantage to 61-38. The Blazers responded with a 15-2 run to draw to within 63-53, but the Wizards came back with a 9-0 tear to go up 72-53.
The difference was 79-66 heading into the final period.
The Wizards extended their lead to 97-76 on Satoransky’s 3-pointer with five minutes left. Portland (13-11) scored the game’s next 11 points to close within 97-87 with 1:53 to go. Satoransky ended the Wizards’ drought with a runner with 1:37 remaining, and Beal’s 3-pointer with 1:10 left sealed the verdict.
Lillard traces Portland’s problems back to a road trip before its current homestand, even though the Blazers won four of the five games away from home.
“We didn’t play great, but we found ways to win games,” he said. “We came back home and haven’t played well offensively or consistent defensively. Every year at some point, adversity is going to hit. I feel this is the start of a little bit of adversity. I’m not overly concerned this early in the year, but we’re just not playing well.”
NOTES: Wizards G Bradley Beal scored 51 points; his teammates totaled 55. Only two other Washington players scored in double figures, both reserves — Kelly Oubre Jr. with 14 and Mike Scott with 10 on 5-of-5 shooting. ... Beal’s previous career scoring high was 42 points. ... Portland G Damian Lillard has made 163 free throws, second most in the NBA behind Houston’s James Harden (174). ... Washington shot 47.2 percent from the floor to Portland’s 41 percent.