Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards took care of business over the weekend by doing something that hasn’t come easy this season: beating teams they’re “supposed” to beat.
One of the biggest hurdles for the Wizards this season had been beating lower ranked teams. Washington plays well against high-quality opponents but has struggled against those teams near or below them in the standings. However they righted the ship over the weekend, topping the Oklahoma City Thunder 129-109 on Friday and then following that up by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-110 on Sunday.
The Wizards (27-33) have now won eight in a row, the franchise’s longest winning streak since Michael Jordan’s first season in Washington(2001-02), when the team won nine in a row.
Even with that impressive accolade, however, Washington remains focused on the games that are ahead of the team rather than behind them. Despite being in the middle of one of the best runs in franchise history, the Wizards, who have climbed into a postseason play-in position, are still not content where they are in the Eastern Conference standings.
“It’s a blessing, but we don’t pat ourselves on the back or anything like that because we still got our work cut out,” Brad said.
To start the weekend slate, the Wizards went up against the Thunder for the second time in a week, with the first meeting being a 119-107 victory for Washington on Monday, April 19.
A tightly contested first half with little in the way of defense from either side saw the Wizards gripping a slim 70-68 lead at the break, but the Wizards pushed the pace on both ends in the third quarter, outscoring a young OKC team handily on the way to a 20-point victory.
Washington’s stars were once again the focal point of the win, with Russell Westbrook and BB combining for 70 points. No. 3 shot a fantastic 12-of-24 from the field for 33 points for his sixth 30-point game of the month.
The game was a notable one for Westbrook, who returned to Oklahoma City to play against the team he spent the first 11 seasons of his career with. He did not disappoint in the return, shooting 14-of-23 from the field along with 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth consecutive triple-double.
Against the Cavaliers, the Wizards faced a more difficult test, as the two teams went back-and-forth in a game that came down to the wire.
Washington took a 63-60 halftime lead thanks to a strong 20-point half from Brad, but it was the Cavs who came out hot in the third quarter where they outscored the Wiz 33-24 in the period to take a 93-87 lead into the fourth quarter.
Cleveland pushed the lead to eight after a bucket by Matthew Dellavedova to start the fourth, but the Wizards quickly battled back and tied the game with 6:05 left after No. 3 drained a deep trey.
Brad took over from there and scored two more buckets on Washington’s next two possessions to keep the game tied before Davis Bertans buried a three of his own to give Washington its first lead since the beginning of the third quarter.
Cleveland was able to battle back and tie the game up with 2:45 left, but the Wizards responded, as they have so many times before during this winning streak, with an 8-0 run in a little over a minute to finish the Cavs off for good.
The 119-110 win was another in a line of clutch performances from the Wizards, who were led by a second consecutive 33-point showing from Brad. No. 3 shot 13-of-24 from the field to go and grabbed six rebounds.
While the team is making history with its incredible win streak, Brad also found himself making some franchise history of his own, with his 33 points being enough to make him the second player in franchise history to surpass 13,000 career points next to Elvin Hayes.
The Wizards can extend their win streak to nine games with a win on Monday, April 26 as they play the San Antonio Spurs at home at 7:00 p.m.
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