Bradley Beal takes MVP honors for tonight’s game. Beal strung together a solid 20 point, six assist effort, leading the Wizards in both categories. When his outside jumper wasn’t falling early, Beal began attacking the basket getting out in transition and also making it to the free throw line, hitting 5-6 from the stripe.
Beal continues to show maturity in his game. He’s no longer settling for low percentage shots and has shown a penchant for being utilitarian on both ends of the floor.
Bradley Beal: As mentioned, Beal performed well on the offensive end, leading what was otherwise a mediocre scoring output for the team. On the defensive end, however, Beal struggled to keep up with James Harden’s multi-faceted game. Harden had his way with Beal with spot-up jumpers, isolation plays, and drives to the basket.
Beal could have used some perimeter defense support with Harden, as he was the Rockets’ lone scoring option for most of the game.
James Harden: Following a day-long buzz about potentially becoming a Wizards player this past summer, Harden played exceptionally, rubbing salt into the wound that is Washington’s poor season. Harden scored 31 points on 50% shooting, including a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. Harden continues to amaze with his ability to draw fouls. His first step is deceptively quick and his shooting touch is nearly unrivaled in the league.
The Rockets were able to get other players involved in the offense late (notably Chandler Parsons with two critical late 3 pointers), but Harden officially sealed the game within the last minute with two points from the line.
In the second game of a road back-to-back, the Wizards looked competitive. The team scrapped and kept the game close through most of the second through fourth quarters, due in large part to the play of Okafor, Beal, and Jordan Crawford. Okafor enjoyed his best output of the season, posting 19 points on 9-12 shooting. He also pulled down 6 rebounds and had 2 blocks.
Nene, despite a few bad possessions down the stretch, played well, adding 13 points and 9 rebounds. This is especially remarkable considering Omer Asik’s reputation for being a defensive presence.
Although they played the Rockets close through most of the game, the Wizards still squandered opportunities to take and maintain the lead. The Rockets were able to go on a couple large scoring runs that would keep their margin safe. One that was critical was a 10-2 run midway through the 3rd quarter that followed Beal’s 2 free throws to give the Wizards the lead.
The Wizards also allowed Toney Douglas and Chandler Parsons to put the game out of reach late. Douglas would go on to have 12 points off the bench.
Kevin Seraphin was virtually invisible in this game, posting only four points on 2-9 from the floor. His game facing the basket is still a work in progress and it looked rudimentary tonight, as he badly missed several jumpers outside the paint.
Also disappointing again was the play of Shaun Livingston. Even with A.J. Price out of the lineup, Livingston only managed to register 2 points (0-1 from the floor) and 1 assist in 14 minutes of play. He just hasn’t seemed to hit his stride since signing with the team.