The Washington Wizards have found a dynamic backcourt, something that has been in the works for the last couple of years. Tonight that duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal carried their team to a 102-99 victory over the standard in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs. It was highlighted by Beal's game-winning three-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining in regulation.
The combination of Wall and Beal accounted for 22 of the teams 36 points in the fourth quarter, including the final 17 points of the quarter. John Wall didn’t shoot the ball well tonight but when it became crunch time in the final quarter he scored 13 of his 17 points. Washington’s floor general added 13 assists, four steals, one block, and only one turnover.
The player of the night, Bradley Beal, continued his hot start as he finished the game with 25 points (11-of-22), five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Beal has scored 24 or more points in the first four games of the season, which is the first player in franchise history since Earl Monroe did it to start the 1967-68 season. That is elite company and proves the maturation process Beal has undergone just from a season ago.
One player who gets overshadowed by the night Wall and Beal had is starting forward Otto Porter. The third-year player out of Georgetown finished the night with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. When the backcourt wasn’t firing on all cylinders, it was Porter who kept the team in the game as he was very efficient all night long.
Just as Beal has become that breakout star for Washington, so has Kawhi Leonard for San Antonio. Leonard finished the ballgame with 23 points (10-of-22) and nine rebounds. Leonard scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half, as the Wizards did a nice job clamping down on him in the final half of basketball.
Tony Parker showed he still has it as he finished the night with 17 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter, and four assists. LaMarcus Aldridge struggled shooting the ball but he finished the night with a double-double with 10 points (4-of-14) and 14 rebounds.
Washington came out of the gates and punched San Antonio right in the mouth with a 19-2 run. After a timeout by Gregg Popovich, the Spurs would get back up and hit the Wizards right back as they ended the first quarter with a 21-3 run to lead 23-22 after the first 12 minutes.
San Antonio would take the lead and keep it until 3:21 left in the fourth quarter. That was when John Wall would tie the game at 90 with a three-pointer and Bradley Beal would follow with drive and convert the dunk after a Spurs turnover to give the Wizards a 92-90 lead.
The game would remain close the remainder of the game as the Wizards biggest lead was three which came with 18 seconds remaining. However, Tony Parker would tie the game up at 99 when he drained a three-pointer with 7.9 seconds left in regulation.
That set up an amazing finish as Wizards head coach Randy Wittman set up a great play during the timeout. Wall would take the inbounds pass, come off a screen and find an open Beal who would jab to his right to get the defender off balance and then sink the 26-footer to give the Wizards a 102-99 win over the Spurs.
After losing 17-straight games to the Spurs, Washington has now defeated this San Antonio team in consecutive meetings, proving this team can compete and defeat the best teams in the league.
The sole reason Washington was able to get this hard fought win was the turnover battle. San Antonio turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 21 times that led to 28 Washington points. The Wizards have struggled with turnovers in all three of their previous games, but tonight committed a total of 10 turnovers that led to only seven San Antonio points.
Washington’s next game comes on the road against the Boston Celtics on Friday night at 7:30 PM EST. San Antonio's next game will come at home when they host the Charlotte Hornets Saturday night at 8:30 PM EST.