Of all the moments that came out of Bradley Beal’s return to Washington D.C. on Sunday, the most appropriate came late in the third quarter.

Already sitting on 37 points, in a homecoming rout of his former team by his current team, Brad got a screen but still managed to draw two defenders. No matter. He used a patented stepback to gain space and launched a long 3-pointer that hit the bottom of the net with exactly .03 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.

It was emblematic of just how everything came up No. 3 on Sunday in D.C.

Emotions were high as Beal returned to Capital One Arena, his home for the first 11 seasons of his NBA career. Once the game began, Brad channeled those emotions into his best game thus far for the Phoenix Suns. No. 3 poured in a season-high 43 points on a remarkable 16-of-21 shooting and added six assists as Phoenix cruised to a 140-112 win over his former team, the Wizards.

“Tonight was awesome,” Brad said. “I guess I know this gym a little bit. I haven’t shot it well the last few games and it was just good to be able to get in a good flow, a good rhythm and what better place to do it than your old home? I was just fortunate. My teammates were encouraging and uplifting and they really wanted to get the win for me too, so that was a big feeling. It was crazy because once the ball was in the air it was just like a normal game. I enjoyed every moment of it.”

But the game was perhaps the only time during the trip that normalcy won out for Brad and his family. Because from the second he arrived in D.C. he could feel something in the air and once again felt that embrace of a city he called home for so long.


“To be back in a city that has helped me grow as a man, from drafting me on my 19th birthday, to being here for 11 years, there were a lot of good memories,” he said after the game. This city is awesome. “I remember walking on F Street and walking into this building for the first time. It’s always been home to me. It’s been an unbelievable ride, highs and lows, good and bad, I’ve embraced it all here. Just being involved in the community and the people you meet, the relationships you build, that’s one of the things I miss dearly. There’s a lot of true genuine good people here. An unbelievable place for me to raise my family and get that started. I’m just super blessed. I had a great 11 years here. That’s unheard of, to be in one place for a long time. I’m just happy for that.”


Prior to the game, the Wizards played a tribute video for Brad, recognizing his 11 years in D.C. not only on the floor, but through what he did within the community off of it.

Afterward he admitted there was a lot to soak in returning to D.C. and he gave himself some time to do just that.

“That tribute video was awesome,” he said. “I was more than appreciative of it. It just reminded me of everything, on and off the floor that I’ve contributed and encountered. I took a moment to embrace it, be a little selfish in that regard, and just embrace what I’ve done here.”


From the jump, Brad was locked in, assisting on two buckets by teammate Jusuf Nurkic in the first two minutes, and a three by Devin Booker, before getting himself going with a pair of jumpers back-to-back, followed by a three that give Phoenix an early 26-13 lead, doubling up the District halfway through the first frame.

By the end of the first, Brad had 14 points and the Suns were staked to a 42-28 lead.


Washington closed the gap slightly in the opening minutes of the second, until Brad took over again, scoring six consecutive points to re-establish a double-digit Phoenix advantage. A few minutes later, a layup by No. 3 once again put the Suns in front by 11 and kicked off a 17-4 run as the visitors pulled away. BB put an exclamation point on a 26-point first half with a jumper with less than 30 seconds left in the second to make it 77-56. At halftime the Suns held a comfortable 79-58 advantage.

Brad noted that while the Suns didn’t plan to make him a focal point of the offense, everyone knew what the deal was. He added that, if anything, the familiarity of the Capital One Arena floor brought him some comfort and allowed him to find a groove.

“It wasn’t something that we talked about in the locker room, but you could kind of sense the energy of the team that that’s what we were going to do and I’m not mad at it,” he said. “It’s weird going to a different locker room, but it’s a game. It’s the same game I’ve been playing, It’s just a different team. It doesn’t change much. It kind of felt normal just being on that floor because I’m used to it. I knew where the lines were, where everything was without having to second guess. It just kind of felt like a normal game.”

Phoenix didn’t let up in the second half and Brad continued to dominate, scoring his team’s first six points of the third quarter.


The final nail in the coffin came late when No. 3 buried a three that left, appropriately, .03 seconds in the third. It gave him 40 points for the night and after adding three more to bring his total to 43, he exited with 8:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, to a standing ovation from the D.C. Faithful. Brad was proud of that.

Other players haven’t gotten such warm welcomes in their return to a city after moving onto another. But he knows that the connection he has with D.C. is different and one he won’t soon forget or abandon.

“It just makes you feel appreciated, missed, and it’s definitely uplifting. It encourages me to be who I am, be humble, continue to give back to the community, continue to be impactful as best I can,” he said. It was a very cool experience the last few days. It’s good to be able to see a lot of familiar faces and it kind of just motivated me to play a little bit harder too. Just being appreciative for everything everybody’s ever done for me here. Being appreciative for where I am, and the team that I’m on now, and what we’re trying to achieve, and just going out there and trying to be the best version of me I can be and help this team win. So it was fun.”

And did it mean a little extra sticking it to the team that traded him? Maybe. But Brad reiterated that the decision for he and the Wizards to part ways was mutual, amicable and left him with no ill will toward the city or the organization.

“You still have your sentimental, emotional ties here, for sure that [I] miss,” he said. It wasn’t a spiteful or a disgusting divorce. It was a good separation. There’s no hard feelings. You still want to kick the team that trades you’s ass for sure. But that wasn’t on my mind the whole night. It was just “get the win.” We wanted to finish our road trip up strong because we definitely slipped up in some games and we wanted to make sure we capitalized before going back home.”

The Suns return to their home court in Phoenix on Tuesday night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. local time and the game will air nationally on TNT.