WASHINGTON – Shooting guard Bradley Beal scored 27 crucial points on Monday, including 21 in the second half, to help the Washington Wizards beat the Sacramento Kings 121-115 and keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the NBA Playoffs.
The Wizards managed to edge past the Kings despite trailing by more than 10 points twice in the match.
“We had some experience the last two games playing close games. I thought we executed down the stretch. We got the stops that we needed,” head coach Scott Brooks said after the match.
“I thought we were good. I thought guys came in – our starters came in – and set the tone from the start of the game,” he added.
Beal also displayed great defensive play, catching nine rebounds and making nine assists for the Wizards, who improved their record to 28-39 but are three and half games off the eighth position – currently occupied by the Miami Heat – required to qualify for the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Forward Jabari Parker scored 18 points off the bench and power forward Bobby Portis had a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds for Washington.
Monday’s games kicked off a series of five consecutive home games for the Wizards.
“This is a good week for us because we were 3-2. We’ve got five more this upcoming week so we got to make sure we are ready to go. Tonight is the way we need to play moving forward for sure. It was great energy on both ends,” Beal said in post-match comments.
Point guard De’Aaron Fox top scored with 23 points for the Kings (33-33), who are placed ninth in the Western Conference, four games off the Utah Jazz, who occupy the last playoff spot.
Serbian power forward Nemanja Bjelica had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in an impressive performance for Sacramento, who lost their seventh game in a row in Washington, a venue where they have not won a match since 2013.
The Kings erased a 14-point lead gained by the Wizards by half time and again rallied back from a 12-point deficit in the second half.
However, Beal’s brilliant performance in the second half made the difference between the two teams in the end.