- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The whistle blew and Bradley Beal slapped the court late in the fourth quarter repeatedly Wednesday in celebration. The Wizards star then walked to the huddle for the timeout and jumped to high-five the hand of a taller teammate.

Beal finally got his revenge.

In a rare back-to-back, home-and-home series, the Wizards prevailed Wednesday over the Philadelphia 76ers with a 123-106 win at Capital One Arena — after the 76ers had tormented them a night earlier.

Beal had a team-high 34 points and the Wizards improved to 17-25.

“We had some fun with this game,” coach Scott Brooks said. “We treated this game possibly like a little playoff. You don’t play [home-and-home series] usually until the playoffs. We had a little fun with it. I thought the guys did a good job with it. We knew that their three starters, or those three All-Stars, are hard to stop but we didn’t want their other guys to beat us like they did last night.”

On Tuesday in Philadelphia, the 76ers dominated the Wizards in a 132-115 victory. Philadelphia has been a nightmare matchup for the Wizards this season as it also won the first meeting by 25. In both cases, the 76ers controlled the glass and Washington didn’t have an answer for stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. 76ers forward Jimmy Butler is also an All-Star.

But the Wizards didn’t face any of those same problems to begin the game. Washington raced out to a lead in the first with Beal dictating the tempo. As the Wizards guard played all 12 minutes of the quarter, he scored 11 points and the Wizards led 25-20 to finish the first.

Beal’s shot fell as he drained 6-of-11 3-pointers. This has been a rough season for Beal from deep, but Wednesday marked a turnaround for the 25-year-old.

“A wise man always told me, ‘Either you’re hot or you’re due,’” Beal said. “Either you’re hot already or you’re just due for making, that’s how I look at it, or due for a good streak of games. Everybody was so concerned about it but, I mean, I was scoring 20-plus points and no threes. So I loved attacking the basket and taking advantage of what they gave me and my shots are going to get there. … I think now is going to be the time for me to put a nice little streak together.”

The 76ers seemed sluggish. By halftime, trailing 63-48, Philadelphia had shot just 36.4 percent and had 14 turnovers.

Washington accomplished its goal of keeping the 76ers’ role players in check. Embiid scored 35 points and Butler chipped in 23, but five Philadelphia players scored five points or less.

Swingman Otto Porter was, again, effective coming off the bench. Coach Scott Brooks previously moved him there last week to get the forward readjusted to the pace of the game after missing 10 games with a right knee injury.

Porter finished with 23 points and six rebounds in 33 minutes.

Porter was aggressive, which was encouraging for the Wizards. He took 15 shot attempts and made all six of his free throw attempts. Throughout Porter’s career, the Wizards have always encouraged him to shoot more. But that wasn’t an issue on Wednesday.

Porter was part of a second unit that outscored the 76ers, 51-12.

The Wizards, too, never stopped moving. They created enough space to get to the rim — scoring 48 points inside the paint. Washington also swarmed Philadelphia on defense, and the 76ers shot 43 percent. Philadelphia shot just 29.6 percent from deep.

Beal even took a charge at one point from the 7-foot Embiid, despite a weight differential that may be at least 40 pounds.

When Beal does that, teammate Trevor Ariza said, it’s contagious for the group.

“He’s willing to do whatever it takes to win,” Ariza said. “We all see that, being one of the leaders on this team, and everybody else just falls in line and plays the same way. … You see what he’s doing and want to do the same.”

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