Bradley Beal has continued his string of strong performances for the Washington Wizards since John Wall rejoined the lineup Wednesday against Memphis.
The Wizards record in the last three games is 2-1, with wins against the Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers and a seven-point defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Over that three-game span, BB averaged over 21 points per game, leading the Wiz in scoring in two of the three contests. The Panda notched his second double-double of the season Friday night, including a season-high 11 rebounds in Capital One Arena against the visiting Clippers.
Although the Wizards came up short Sunday against Cleveland, Brad and his teammates showed they can compete with the three-time defending Eastern Conference Champions. After three quarters, the Wizards were even with the Cavs and with less than four minutes to play, they trailed by only three.
“All in all we feel like we had good shots, they just didn’t’ fall,” Beal said.
Ultimately, the Wizards could not make enough plays to keep pace with LeBron James and Kevin Love down the stretch, but they did force James into a rough 8-23 shooting night.
The Wizards out-rebounded Cleveland 58-49 and recorded five blocks on the night, including this block by Brad helping on James.
“For the most part we guarded him well one-on-one,” Beal said of their defense on LeBron. “We forced him into a lot of tough shots, a lot of contested ones.”
While the Wizards do not want to settle for moral victories, their performance Sunday shows that they can compete in the Eastern Conference.
No. 3 scored 27 points to go along with five assists and five boards on the night while Wall added 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Mike Scott provided a spark off the bench, contributing 19 points, while Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris both scored in double figures and combined for 15 boards. In addition, the Wizards played without Otto Porter Jr. against Cleveland because of a bruised right thigh, and he has proven to be a reliable weapon on offense for the Wiz this season.
After the game, James said he was impressed with this Wizards team, saying they are a tough team to beat and giving the Panda some praise Sunday night.
“Bradley Beal is playing at an All-Star level this year,” said LeBron James.
A fully healthy Wizards unit could prove to be a threat in the East, with two All-Star caliber guards in Beal and Wall, and a strong supporting cast of Porter Jr., Oubre Jr., Morris, Scott and center Marcin Gortat.
The Wizards host the New Orleans Pelicans tonight before heading to Brooklyn for a matchup with the Nets on Friday.