Pregame/Curry vs Beal Scoring Title
In last night’s first contest with fans back in Capital One, the Washington Wizards (25-33) dug deep and pulled out a win against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors (29-30), 118-114. After securing “technically” a must-win game, the Washington Wizards are currently on a 6 game winning streak, won 8 of the last 10 games, and obtained the 10th seed which puts them in Play-In Tournament contention.
Bradley Beal (31.1 PPG) led the league in scoring for 103 consecutive games after he matched Gilbert Arenas’ 60 point franchise scoring record back on January 6th. Stephen Curry has been red hot in the month of April averaging 40.8 points on 50 percent shooting from deep and swapped current scoring title places with Beal after putting up 49 points against the 76ers on April 19th.
Coming into last night’s contest, the Golden State Warriors record against the Washington Wizards is 10-3 in head-to-head matchups between Curry and Beal. Oddly, Bradley Beal has never outscored Curry in any of those matchups. Curry has 6 games with at least 10 three-pointers made with four of those performances coming in the past 5 games.
When asked about the 2021 NBA Scoring Title, “I’m not trying to focus on going out and winning that,” Beal said after Monday’s win over the Thunder. “I don’t need to score 40 or 50 every night, because I have a lot of help on our team. Would I like to win it? One hundred percent, but I’m not trying to go out each and every night, chucking the ball up, trying to win the scoring title. I want to try to get into the playoffs and help my team win.”
Beal is always a leader first but we all know he wants to add a Scoring Title to his legacy.
The Capital One Arena had fans in the stands for the first time in 13 months and their energy was felt. Washington came out of the gate swinging and did not allow Golden State to breathe. The Wizards were closing out on pick and rolls, securing rebounds and running on every transitional play forcing free throws.
Washington held Golden State to 20 points and closed the quarter on a 33-14 run. In the first quarter, Golden State shot 38 percent from the field, 2 of 9 from behind the arc, and turned the ball over 9 times equating to 17 Washington points.
In the Second Quarter, Washington pulled a Washington and lost all momentum. Warriors secured an 18-1 run and cut Washington’s big lead down to two. Washington committed 14 turnovers in the first half that led to 19 Warriors points. The Warriors improved their first-quarter shooting percentage from 38% to 46% and outscored Washington 38 to 22 in the second Q.
Curry in the first half had 4 points on 2 for 10 shooting in 17 minutes. The “Others” are who made this game interesting. Former Wizard Kelly Oubre had 18 points and Kent Bazemore was impressive on both ends of the floor.
The momentum continued to carry in Golden State’s direction throughout the 3rd where they were able to obtain a 74-72 lead. The lead would grow to double digits but ultimately Washington would go into the 4th quarter down by 7.
Things were not looking too good in the Fourth. Jordan Poole (22 points) was heat-checking from beyond the arc, knocking down consecutive threes, and gave Golden State their biggest lead of the game (11). Honestly, Washington just could not catch a break.
Russell Westbrook who has been playing exceptionally over the past month has had a shooting slump in the last two games. Westbrook shot 7/17 against Detroit and 5/18 against Oklahoma City. Late in the 4th against Golden State, Russell was 2/14 and had not hit an FG since the first quarter.
What do Greats do? They overcome the odds and show what being a leader is all about even when times are rough.
The Golden State Warriors absolutely fall apart and allow Washington to go on a 25-10 scoring run in the last 6 minutes to secure the win thanks to Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Davis Bertans. Russell Westbrook would go on to hit his next 3 shots cutting leads and gaining late leads for Washington, Beal follows suit and realizes that no one on the Warriors team can stop him on the dribble and Bertans ices the cake with clutch 3’s and late FT’s.
Russell Westbrook ended with 14 points, season-high 20 rebounds, and 10 assists marking his 27th Triple-Double of the season. Kudos to Russell for his phenomenal defense against Stephen Curry.
Curry finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists on 7 of 25 shooting in 36 minutes. Stephen Curry’s 30-point streak ends at 11 games.
“That’s the thing that Russell probably won’t get a lot of credit for, but he did a great job of guarding him, putting pressure on him, making him take tough shots. It wears him out,” Brooks said. “Every now and then, an amazing player like Steph will have an off game, and a lot to do with it was Russell.”
Beal finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists in 36 minutes on 8 of 21 shooting. Brad said in the post-game interview that he was starting to get into his head and that it was Cassius Winston that came to him and said “Be a killer these last three minutes.”
Daniel Gafford had his best game with the Wizards last night scoring 19 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes. Gafford has been so beneficial to the Wizards and we all expect him to get more playing time in the future.
Washington was able to obtain this win by playing smart, realizing that Golden State was in the penalty early, not wasting dribbles, and getting right to the basket for a contact foul or easy layup.
Washington’s 2020 draft pick suffered a hairline fracture in his right ankle that is considered a season-ending injury. Deni Avdija has been averaging 6.3 PPG, 4.9 REB, and 1.2 AST in 54 games played including 32 games started.
Avdija landed awkwardly on a missed layup late in the second quarter and had to be immediately carried out in a wheelchair. Deni has undergone X-rays on the ankle and thankfully this injury will not require surgery.
Prayers and speedy recovery for the WizRaeli!