The high-scoring Washington Wizards will try to win for the third time in four games when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.
Washington is coming off a 138-132 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday and has scored 120 points or more in each of its past four games. The Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks are the only NBA teams averaging better than 119 points per game, entering play on Thursday.
A lot of that scoring is coming from the Wizards’ reserves. Washington’s bench is contributing 45 points per game, tied for second most in the league.
Against the Spurs, the second unit poured in 63 points. Ish Smith and Davis Bertans each scored 21 points, shooting a combined 16 of 23 from the field and 7 of 11 from 3-point range. Bertans has scored 20-plus points three times this season.
“Through the 82 games, you have to keep pushing, keep pressing,” Smith said. “Our second unit, we try to play with pace, try to get the ball from the first side to the second side and possibly the third side. Tonight, I got my number called and made some shots.”
After San Antonio jumped out to 29-19 lead in the first quarter, Washington’s reserves sparked a 24-11 run, capped by Smith’s 3-pointer, to take a 43-40 lead early in the second quarter. In the first quarter alone, the bench scored 20 points, shooting 9 of 12 from the field.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 33 points, his seventh 30-point game of the season. Beal, who made 10 consecutive shots in the second half, scored 21 of his 33 points in the third quarter. He hit all nine of his shots, including three from beyond the arc, leading the Wizards on a 24-5 run to take a 96-87 lead.
“(We) moved the ball; 37 assists,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “Brad (Beal) took over, and he’s hard to stop. He’s hard to stop. … But he just has to keep attacking and he controlled the game when we needed buckets and put us on his back and made plays and passes.”
Offense has been a problem for the Hornets, who averaged 93.5 points in their last two games, both losses, including a 101-91 defeat at Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Charlotte shot a season-low 37.0 percent from the field and was 11 of 33 from 3-point range. Brooklyn won the rebounding battle 53-41 and outscored the Hornets 46-36 in the paint and 17-9 in second-chance points.
“Our defense wasn’t our issue tonight — we just couldn’t score,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight. Offensively, we were stagnant. Our assists were down, our ball movement was down. For us to be a good offense, we have to move the ball. Give them credit, but we have to get back to work on Friday.”
Terry Rozier tallied a team-high 18 points and added six rebounds. Devonte’ Graham (17), Malik Monk (13), Miles Bridges (12) and Bismack Biyombo (10) joined Rozier in double figures.
Graham became the fourth different player in NBA history to record at least 50 3-pointers and 100 assists though his team’s first 15 games of the season, joining Baron Davis, Steph Curry and James Harden (twice).
Charlotte is 1-2 on a four-game road trip that concludes in Washington.
“We lost a couple of tough ones,” forward Marvin Williams said, “but the next thing is Washington, so we really have to focus on those guys and come out ready to play.”
–Field Level Media