- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2020

After Bradley Beal sent Andre Drummond skating past with a nasty crossover, draining a 3-pointer in the process, the Wizards star turned and stared directly at the Pistons’ big man. He then gestured his hand toward his body in a “bring it on” motion.

The crossover, shot and staredown sent the Wizards’ bench into a frenzy — with Moritz Wagner wiping the bottom of his shoes on the sideline, Jordan McRae dramatically falling back into the arms of his teammates and one player slumping from his seat to the ground.

That highlight was just one of many jaw-droppers from the two-time All-Star that helped Washington snap a three-game losing streak with a 106-100 win over the Detroit Pistons in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee at Capital One Arena.

Beal finished with 29 points and passed Wes Unseld to become the franchise’s fourth all-time leading scorer. He now has 10,637 points in his career, trailing only Elvin Hayes, Jeff Malone and John Wall, respectively.

“It was good for us,” Beal said. “We needed to get our mojo back and get back in the right direction.” 



Last week, Beal took the Wizards to task for lacking a “winning attitude” following a loss to the Chicago Bulls. On Monday, the 25-year-old led the pregame huddle outside the locker room, emphasizing a “just win” message. After the speech, the Wizards raced out to the floor for warmups, with Beal sprinting out of the tunnel last.

Against the Pistons, the Wizards overcame a rough first quarter, but found their rhythm when Beal tied Unseld’s record with a go-ahead bucket in the first half. Beal surpassed the mark with a 3-pointer in the third quarter. 

Beyond Beal’s brilliance, the Wizards pulled away with a commitment to defense and with role players stepping up. Center Ian Mahinmi had 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting, and his three blocks helped Washington make a late defensive stand.

Mahinmi and reserve forward Davis Bertans each hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, stealing the lead back from Detroit. And over a nearly five-minute stretch, the Wizards held Detroit to just two points — creating a 97-89 lead. 

“We knew what they wanted to do,” McRae said. “They had a lot of shooters. We were trying to keep a high hand on them and keep Drummond off the boards.” 

With 7:06 left, former Wizards starter and Pistons forward Markieff Morris was ejected for a flagrant foul on Bertans. The two, who had a dust-up in Detroit earlier this season, were quickly separated after a hard foul and Morris was tossed.  

After the game, Beal said he was still digesting his new record.

“It’s an honor because that list is filled with greats, guys who were true Wizards, Bullets legends,” Beal said. “I would have never dreamt of that coming here … I’ve still got a lot of basketball to play, so who knows where I’ll end up?” 

 

 

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