Beal boost sparks Wizards’ waltz

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Wash­ing­ton

Bradley Beal fell a point short of his ca­reer high on Sun­day.

He’ ll have to set­tle for mak­ing a fan out of Chris Paul.

Beal scored 41 points — in­clud­ing 18 dur­ing the third quar­ter — in the Wash­ing­ton Wizards’ 117-110 vic­tory over the Los Angeles Clip­pers.

In the process, he left nine­time All-Star Paul thor­oughly im­pressed.

“Brad looks like a to­tally dif­fer­ent per­son,” said Paul, who scored 13 points and had 12 as­sists for the Clip­pers.

“This is the Bradley Beal he should be all the time. Tonight he was ag­gres­sive. In or­der for this team to be as good as they prob­a­bly want to be, he’s got to be like that.”

Marki­eff Mor­ris had 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quar­ter and John Wall added 18 points and 11 as­sists for the Wizards.

Af­ter go­ing down by seven, Wash­ing­ton closed the game on a 22-8 run to seal its third straight win.

The Wizards shot 80 per­cent (12 of 15) from the floor in the fourth, and on the other end held Blake Grif­fin score­less af­ter he drained 26 points in his first three pe­ri­ods.

“We wanted to make him shoot jump shots,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.

“The ones he was mak­ing, in the sec­ond half he still made a few, but we still just wanted to stay with that strat­egy. It paid off.”

De­An­dre Jor­dan added 13 points and 17 re­bounds for Los Angeles, which played the fi­nal 68 sec­onds mi­nus ejected coach Doc Rivers.

“This lit­tle stretch we’ve been win­ning games, but our de­fense still hasn’t been great,” Paul said.

“You want to win and learn at the same time, and it fi­nally caught up with us.”

Beal was 6 of 10 on 3-point­ers and shot 13 of 23 from the floor dur­ing a night when he re­peat­edly took the ini­tia­tive to drive the lane.

And af­ter his out­burst in the third quar­ter helped Wash­ing­ton re­cover from an 11-point deficit, Beal’s 3-pointer from the right off Wall’s tran­si­tion feed knot­ted the score at 102 with 5:01 left.

Some 90 sec­onds later, Mor­ris’ al­ley-oop slam of Wall’s lob gave Wash­ing­ton a 106-104 lead, its first af­ter half­time.

Then Mor­ris’ lean­ing jumper af­ter Jor­dan missed a pair of free throws made the lead six.

Rivers re­ceived two tech­ni­cals in the af­ter­math, and Beal hit both foul shots to make it 116-108 with 1:08 to play.

“He was able to get to the paint, get to the rim and get to the free throw line,” Wall said of Beal.

“We found him a cou­ple of times in tran­si­tion for some 3s. He was be­ing ag­gres­sive on his own.

“That kind of helped us get back into the game.”

Clip­pers: Grif­fin passed El­ton Brand for third on LA’s ca­reer scor­ing list. ... For­ward Luc Mbah a Moute (shoul­der) re­turned to the start­ing lineup af­ter miss­ing two games.

Wizards: For­ward Kelly Oubre did not play and is in the league’s con­cus­sion pro­to­col af­ter run­ning into a screen by Detroit’s Aron Baynes on Fri­day, coach Scott Brooks said.

Air show

Three of Grif­fin’s seven as­sists re­sulted in al­ley-oop dunks for the ac­ro­batic Jor­dan, in­clud­ing a stun­ning re­verse slam that made it 83-80 with 2:13 left in the third quar­ter.

On the other end, Mor­ris’ tom­a­hawk dunk over Mar­reese Speights tied it 89-89 early in the fourth and brought the Ver­i­zon Cen­ter crowd to its feet.

Fam­ily af­fair

Rivers’ dis­missal came af­ter his son, Clip­pers guard Austin Rivers, re­ceived his fifth tech­ni­cal of the sea­son late in the first half.

GE­OFF BURKE / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Wash­ing­ton Wizards guard Bradley Beal ges­tures af­ter drain­ing a three-pointer against the LA Clip­pers at Ver­i­zon Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton on Sun­day. The Wizards won 117-110.

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