T.J. Warren and the Phoenix Suns completed a 22-point comeback to drop the Wizards, 122-116 on Wednesday night. Bradley Beal scored 40 points for just the second time in his career, but it didn’t matter as the Wizards played defense-optional basketball after jumping out to big early lead and couldn’t stave off the Suns’ steady comeback.
Washington held a 32-15 lead after the first quarter and it looked like they’d coast to another win against an inferior Western Conference foe. But that’s when things started to fall apart for the Wizards. Washington gave up at least 35 points in every quarter after the first quarter and slowly let them back into the game.
Phoenix completed the comeback early in the fourth quarter behind hot shooting from Devin Booker and Warren, who scored a career-high 40 points on just 22 shots. Washington tried to kick it back into high gear, but it was too little, too late as Phoenix handed the Wizards their third loss in four games.
Bad habits continue to haunt Washington
The Wizards were wildly inconsistent on the defensive end this evening. Wall and the Wizards were engaged on defensive early on as they were able to lock down every Phoenix player not named Devin Booker. But after holding the Suns to just 15 first-quarter points, they were equally as bad in the second quarter giving up 37 points and allowing the Suns to trim their 22 point lead down to 11.
Things got worse in the second half. The Wizards found themselves in a ballgame as Phoenix took a 92-90 lead to complete the 22-point comeback early in the fourth quarter. However, Washington was unable to get stops and knock down their free throws down the stretch.
Complacency, lack of focus, playing down to their competition, whatever you want to call it, it was all on display for the Wizards tonight. And just like against the Los Angeles Lakers, it came back to bite them.
Playing help defense, boxing out, contesting shots; all of that stopped after the first quarter. Bradley Beal went on the record saying that the Wizards have to stop having defensive lapses. The team didn’t get the memo tonight.
Mike Scott provides a spark off the bench
Mike Scott had another good performance tonight. Scott set the tone early for the reserve unit with 12 first-half points as only he and Beal cracked double-figures in scoring for Washington in the first half. Scott received extra playing time as Jason Smith picked up three first-half fouls and took advantage of his opportunity.
Scott didn’t score in the second half, but the first half spark showed that he should be relied upon more as the season rolls along.
- Bradley Beal knocked down six threes this evening, but outside of him, the rest of the team struggled from distance as they were 4-18 for the game.
- Kelly Oubre Jr. scored just eight points as foul trouble prevented him from getting into a rhythm.
- The Wizards didn’t have the services of Otto Porter tonight as he was sidelined with the flu.
Next up: The Wizards host the 3-5 Cavaliers in a nationally televised game on Friday night at 7 p.m.