Bradley Beal’s jumper stuns Thunder
Bradley Beal didn’t have a plan. What he had was a good move.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do to be honest with you,” Beal said. “Coach just said go make a play.”
Once Beal sent the Thunder (26-8) to the showers, they were doused with cold water in the away arena.
The Wizards (5-28), playing without their top two scorers, had lost 13 of their previous 14, but they also beat the Miami Heat earlier in the season. Beal and Martell Webster led the Washington with 22 points each.
Kevin Durant, who had 29 points, drove through the lane for a thunderous dunk to cut Oklahoma City’s deficit to 95-94 with just more than two minutes left. Martell Webster answered with a four-point play to give the Wizards a 99-94 lead.
“I thought we had a chance,” Russell Westbrook said. “We just had to get a stop. But the way the game had been going for us throughout the game, it wouldn’t surprise me if they would make a game-winner.”
The Thunder’s cold stretch lasted from midway through the third quarter to midway through the fourth quarter, and they made just 43 percent of their shots and 24 percent of their 3-pointers for the game.
“We let them stick around, because we’re not taking them serious enough,” Durant said. “We can’t do that, man. We can’t do that.”
Nene (right knee tendinitis) and Jordan Crawford (sore left ankle) missed the game with injuries.
Nene has played just 20 games this season while dealing with a foot problem (plantar fasciitis), but he had played in the Wizards‘ previous eight contests. He’s averaging 12.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Crawford is averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
With John Wall, Trevor Booker and Cartier Martin also out, Washington had just nine players available.
The Wizards weren’t completely short-handed.
Trevor Ariza, who missed the last 17 games with a left calf strain, returned. He limped noticeably after dunking in the second quarter, but he remained in the game.
A.J. Price also returned Monday after missing 15 games with a broken right hand.
“How many times have we been in this spot?” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “We’re going to get the last shot. . I said, “It’s time for us to be on the other end, to have someone step up and make a play.’ Bradley made a hell of a shot.”
Said Thunder coach Scott Brooks: “Truthfully, there is no way around it. The better team tonight won.”