It took three extra periods, but the Washington Wizards beat the Phoenix Suns 149-146 last night at Capital One Arena. Bradley Beal had his first career triple double with 40 points, 11 rebounds, and 15 assists. Thomas Bryant had a career night as well with a perfect night from the field (14-of-14). He finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds. The Suns were paced by Devin Booker’s 33 points, TJ Warren’s 28 and a 26 point, 17 rebound performance by rookie Deandre Ayton. It was a much needed win for Washington who was without John Wall (due to an illness), they also play later today in Indiana.
Neither of the two teams are known for playing good defense, that was just one of the reasons as to why no one could really take control of the game. Phoenix just isn’t good on that end and Washington has an issue with ending possessions with the rebound.
Below are several observations from Washington’s triple overtime victory.
Beal’s Load. With John not available, Brad had a lot on his shoulders. Instead of primarily focusing on putting the ball in the basket, he was the initiator of the offense most of the night. He also accepted the challenge late in regulation and in the extra periods of guarding Devin Booker. Beal showed the growth in his all-around game over the past few seasons by affecting last night’s game in so many different ways. He delivered a monstrous performance, but it definitely highlighted as to why John’s needed and why Green needs the ball a bit more. Washington doesn’t have a bunch of players that can create for themselves and for others. Beal ran a lot of high screen/rolls with Bryant and Washington got easy baskets from it. Brad also did a good job of finishing around the rim, his eight turnovers aren’t as bad as they seem considering his usage last night.
Bryant. The youngster had a big night, he held his own in the matchup with Ayton. As the game went on Thomas and his energy never wavered. He was still sprinting up and down the floor, even getting up off the grown for a posterizing dunk in the third overtime. He’s been thrust in a tough situation this year with the injury to Dwight and he’s been progressing as the season has gone on. He even stepped up and hit two clutch free throws to tie the game in one of the extra periods. He still has a ways to go, but he definitely came up big on a night Washington needed the production.
Uncle Jeff. He’s just consistent, there were several times when Washington was a bit off balance or trailing, Green was the one who stepped up. Whether it was knocking down a big shot, getting to the line or getting a stop. He brings a calming influence to the floor, Jeff finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds. He went to the line 10 times and didn’t miss a single free throw.
Scrappy. That’s the term Brooks used to describe his team’s mentality and style of play following the game. It’s also a mindset that needs to stay with them going forward, for everything this game was, it’s also a reminder that Washington is still several games under .500 and owners of a very poor road record. The Wizards definitely showed some grit in the win.
Booker & Ayton. Beal wasn’t the only guard that went off last night, Devin finished with 33 points and 14 assists. He scored six points in the second overtime period and hit timely shots throughout the game. Ayton was a beast on the offensive end, hitting the glass hard as 9 of his 17 rebounds came on that end of the floor. He only missed seven shots. Like Booker, the issues come on the defensive end. Ayton for everything he is on the offensive end in terms of athleticism, is a horrible defender at this point in his young career. Washington routinely got what they wanted whenever they were able to catch him on a switch. There were a couple possessions when Thomas Bryant put the ball on the floor and beat him to the rim. That shouldn’t happen and it’s an area that needs to get better for both him and Devin if Phoenix hopes to right their ship out West.
Oubre. Kelly played in his first game as a visitor in Capital One Arena. He scored 20 points and pulled down 5 rebounds in the loss to Washington. When he first entered the game early in the first quarter, he received a smattering of applause and a small ovation from the fans. Kelly also hit some big shots late in the game, he only hit three triples, but they were very timely. Several players in Washington’s locker room stated that they missed him and enjoyed playing against him.