Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers 128-110 on Sunday. The Lakers came into the game having won seven of their past nine games, but the Wizards made life difficult on Sunday in an emphatic victory over one of the NBA’s hottest teams.
Beal scored 25 points on 10-for-24 shooting (4-for-9 3PT) while adding a season high 12 rebounds and three assists in the game. While the offense was great for Washington against the Lakers, the defense is what pushed the team over the top against a young, talented opponent.
“It’s a hot team that came in here tonight,” Beal said. “A team that’s very young and push the ball, makes and misses, so defense is imperative knowing everybody’s tendencies. Obviously, they have LeBron, so you got to respect everything they’re able to do. We came in locked in on the defensive end and allowed our offense to take care of itself.”
The Panda set the tone early for the Wizards, nailing a long 22-foot jump shot and getting Washington on the board in their first offensive possession.
That propelled the Wizards to a hot start, in which Washington hit eleven of their first thirteen shots from the floor en route to a 22-8 lead to start the game. At one point, Washington led by as many as 18 in the first.
However, the Lakers would respond as LeBron James and company cut the lead down to seven with 26 seconds left on the clock. However, Beal closed the first with a 26-foot three point jumper, pushing the lead back to double digits 33-23.
Teammate John Wall took over in the second with 16 points of his 40 on the night, pushing the Wizards lead to 20 at the end of the half 71-51.
Beal’s first points in the third came with 5:02 remaining and Washington leading 86-63 as they continued to maintain their big lead.
Throughout the second half the Wizards maintained a 20-point lead, but Beal continued to attack offensively, scoring 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.
Washington played the contest with an eight-man rotation due to injuries and a recent trade move bringing former Wizard Trevor Ariza back to the nation’s capital. Ariza should provide strong veteran leadership, quality defense and offensive spacing to the Wizards as they look to climb up the ranks of the Eastern Conference.
“Trev has a spark about himself. A true desire of winning he doesn’t care what it looks like with us,” Beal said. “He going to go out and do it, always accepts that challenge defensively and I think his leadership qualities and his vocalness, everything that he’s about. His morale on the floor, off the floor, is everything that we need. He’s a great character perfect fit, hopefully we pick up where we left off.”
Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers were sent to the Phoenix Suns in the deal, but Beal understands that that is just part of the business of this league.
“Kelly is one of my young guys, he’s been here with me for the last couple years,” Beal said. “It’s good to be able to see him develop, he’s like my little brother. In that aspect I’m a little sad about it, but it’s a business at the end of the day, and we’ve got to continue to move forward.”
The Wizards will look to build on their impressive performance against the Lakers as they head back on the road starting Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks. The game can be seen on NBC Sports Washington with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 ET.