NBA: Simmering Bradley Beal leads Wizards into Boston


Posted at Jan 08 2021 07:56 AM

Despite a 60-point effort to match a franchise record, Bradley Beal was anything but happy Wednesday night as his Washington Wizards lost for the sixth time in eight games.

Beal didn't hold back in expressing his frustration.

"I'm pissed off," he said. "... Any of my career highs, they've been in losses. So I don't give a damn. You can throw it right out the window with the other two or three I've had."

Beal gets another chance to put the team on track when the Wizards travel to face the Boston Celtics on Friday.

Washington had won two straight after five losses to begin the season before Wednesday's 141-136 defeat at the Philadelphia 76ers, during which Beal had 57 points through three quarters before going cold when it mattered in the fourth.

"I put it on myself to close it out," Beal said. "I've got to be better."

As crazy as it sounds after a 60-point night that included seven 3-pointers, the Wizards may need more from their star guard because his backcourt counterpart, Russell Westbrook, dislocated a finger on his right hand in the waning minutes of the loss.

Westbrook, who had 20 points and 12 assists, said he was unsure if the injury would cause him to miss games.

"That (expletive) hurt," he said. "But I'll be all right."

The Celtics, meanwhile, were unsure if they would play at all Wednesday in response to developments across the country this week. Between no charges being filed against a Wisconsin police officer who shot Jacob Blake and the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, the team had considered calling off its Eastern Conference finals rematch with the Miami Heat before an eventual 107-105 win.

The Blake decision carried particular significance, as the shooting of the Black man in the back in August prompted last season's NBA shutdown in protest during the playoffs.

"To be honest ... I didn't think we were playing," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "And then coaches left the room, players finished talking and chose to play."

Jayson Tatum had 27 points in the victory, and Jaylen Brown added 21 with 12 rebounds. Payton Pritchard saved the day with a game-winning putback with 0.2 seconds remaining that helped Boston overcome blowing a 10-point lead with 1:17 to play.

Despite the rookie's heroics to give the Celtics their fifth win in their last six games, the focus postgame was on the bigger picture in the country.

"We expressed ourselves through basketball today," said Brown. "We don't encourage violence. It's OK to be upset. We want to keep inspiring change. I want to believe that we're doing the right thing."

Marcus Smart (thumb) returned from a one-game absence for Boston and scored nine points on 3-of-10 shooting. Fellow guard Jeff Teague (ankle) remained sidelined.

The Wizards have beaten the Celtics in each of their last two meetings, including a 96-90 victory at the NBA bubble five months ago. The teams will meet only once more this season in late February.

--Field Level Media

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