At a point when every game can decide whose season ends and whose breathes new life in the playoffs, the Washington Wizards are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
The Wizards extended their winning streak to four games over the weekend, taking care of business with back-to-back victories against the Pistons and Pelicans, and look like a team with no intention of ending their season early. With just 16 regular season games left, and a spot in the NBA’s postseason play-in tournament within reach, Washington (23-33) sits just percentage points out of a play-in spot.
Bradley Beal has been nothing short of incredible during this latest win streak, scoring at least 30 points in all four of the wins, including a 30-point showing in Washington’s 117-115 overtime win over New Orleans and a monster 37-point performance in a convincing 121-100 win over Detroit.
The Wizards needed all 30 of those points against the Pelicans, who gave the Wizards a nail-biting finish in extra time. In a game the Pelicans led for the majority of the second half, New Orleans held a nine-point lead with just seven minutes left in regulation. But the Wizards turned up the heat with an 11-2 run that ended with a Russell Westbrook layup to even things up with just a minute left to play.
Neither team would score in the last minute of the fourth quarter, but both quickly heat up at the start of overtime. Though Brandon Ingram added six points to his 34-point night in the extra period, it was Westbrook who truly took control of the game at end, scoring 10 of Washington’s 12 points in the last five minutes while also assisting on a layup from Brad off a transition lob.
Westbrook finished the game with 36 points as well as a pair of game-winning free throws after being fouled on a pull-up jumper with two seconds left by Zion Williamson.
“It’s so surreal to be able to see a guy who plays as hard as he does still have that type of energy,” Brad said. “It just trickles down to the rest of us.”
Westbrook may have been the biggest star of the night against the Pels, but it was BB who took control of the Detroit game as the team’s scoring prowess from their second half comeback against New Orleans carried over into the next day.
No. 3 was unstoppable against the Pistons, who didn’t have to face him in their April 1 meeting — a 120-91 Pistons victory. The tables turned this time around, with Brad getting buckets from everywhere but the stands, on a night where he scored his highest point total since his 43-point masterpiece against Utah on March 18.
The Wizards had control of the game pretty much the whole way through, never trailing against a Pistons team that shot just 44 percent from the field. While BB was undoubtedly the star of the show, the Wizards also got some solid performances off their bench. Ish Smith finished with a season-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and Robin Lopez had another solid scoring night in the paint with 15 points of his own on 7-of-10 shooting.
The Wizards can extend their win streak to five on Monday, April 19 with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7:00 p.m.