It was a tale of two games for the Washington Wizards over the weekend, with a blowout win on Friday followed closely by a tight loss on Saturday.
The Wizards (29-35) kicked off the back-to-back on the road in Cleveland and logged their biggest win since their 20-point beatdown of the Thunder on April 23, taking down the slumping Cavaliers 122-93.
Bradley Beal led the way in the rout, scoring a team-high 19 points while Russell Westbrook followed suit with his 31st triple-double of the season with 15 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds. Washington’s bench also ended up being key in the blowout as they outscored Cleveland’s bench, 56-36.
The Wiz had control for almost the entire game, with Cleveland’s last lead coming early in the second quarter. While the Wizards led by six going into the half, they didn’t truly start to break the game open until a 12-0 run late in the third helped push the lead to 23 going into the fourth.
Cleveland didn’t give much pushback from there as the lead eventually went up to as high as 33 points allowing Brad, Davis Bertans and Robin Lopez to sit out the entire fourth quarter.
Those three needed all the rest they could get for the next game, a thrilling back-and-forth affair between two playoff-bound teams that were carried by their respective star power.
Dallas proved to be a different animal entirely and took the win in a 125-124 nail-biter.
The Mavs quickly gained the upper hand over the Wizards in the first half, leading by as many as 18 points in the second quarter, though BB and Westbrook were able to heat up and cut that lead down to five going into halftime. The two guards combined for 40 of the team’s 65 halftime points, with Westbrook scoring 23 of his 42 points in the first half alone.
The Wizards came out with all the momentum in the third quarter, shooting 59 percent from the field and outscoring the Mavericks 32-19 to take an eight-point lead into the final quarter. From there, the game turned into a shootout that saw eight ties and five lead changes, three of which Brad broke in the final two minutes.
BB was excellent in the fourth quarter, matching Luka Doncic and the Mavericks shot for shot in the final stretch to keep the game within reach. He scored 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, with his final two points giving Washington a four-point lead with 26 seconds left to play. Despite Brad’s heroics, the Mavs were able to get the go-ahead score with nine seconds left after Doncic logged his 20th assist of the game on a bucket by Dorian Finney-Smith.
It was a tough finish for Brad and the Wiz, but it was a testament to how well this team has played against playoff-caliber teams in this final stretch of the season.
The Wizards can get back in the win column on Monday, May 3 as they go against the Indiana Pacers at home in a game with serious playoff implications. The game will air at 7:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.