Wall returns, Beal has big fourth quarter as Wizards beat Grizzlies
Washington ended a back-to-back and began a homestand in the same night. After losing in Brooklyn the night before, the Wizards rebounded with a 93-87 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. They were on the road for 10 days and several of the players looked the part in the first half, but John Wall (13 points) made his return and subsequently gave his team a boost despite being a bit rusty at the start. The Wizards held a 17-point lead at one point, but as has been the case this season, that big lead didn't last long. Memphis made a run in the third quarter that had them trailing by just three points to start the fourth.
Bradley Beal scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, knocking down three triples in the process. Kelly Oubre would score 9 of his 11 points in the period as well, knocking down a big three pointer late. An 11-0 Wizards run would help them create separation after leading 68-67 with a little more than 8 minutes left. Memphis responded with a run of their own to cut the deficit to three, trailing 83-80 with 2:34 seconds to go. Washington hit back-to-back three pointers to extend the lead to nine, prior to Oubre's three pointer to cap that 6-0 run, Wall reminded everyone why he is one of the best shot blocking point guards in the league. Chandler Parsons attacked the rim and Wall pinned his dunk attempt to the glass to prevent the basket and give his team possession. From there it was a free throw game and Washington was able to hit enough of them to hold on for the win despite shooting just 12-of-24 from the line.
The Grizzlies scored just 12 points in the first quarter and had just 29 points at the half, by far the best job Washington has done on the defensive end to start any game this season. Memphis struggled to hit open shots when they got them and then the Wizards did a good job of limiting them to one shot a possession during a run late in the half (4 offensive rebounds). Marc Gasol had just four points, shooting 1-for-7 after two quarters, Marcin Gortat did a solid job of defending him.
With Beal starting slow, Wall stepped up to score 11 points in the half. He really took off during a sequence late in the second quarter. Hitting a contested three pointer, finding his way through the Memphis defense for a layup and capping it off with a left handed hammer-dunk to force a timeout. Also of note, Tomas Satoransky was the first point guard off the bench for Washington, he earned that with his play of late.
Leading the way for Memphis was Andrew Harrison and Dillon Brooks with six points a piece.
Washington couldn't pull away in the third quarter, extending the lead to 17 at one point, but the Grizzlies stuck around. Gasol got going in the quarter, hitting a triple and finding success inside. He scored 7 of his 15 points in the period, Parsons had 7 as well. Harrison contributed on both ends, as he drew a charge and hit the three pointer that cut the lead to six with 3:26 left in the period. Chandler Parsons drilled a three from the wing to cut the deficit to four just a few possessions later (57-53).
By the end of the quarter, Washington would lead by just three. Having nearly squandered another double-digit lead. Washington shot 41% in the period while the Grizzlies shot 47% from the floor and 50% from deep. Memphis outscored Washington 28-19 in the period.
It wasn't the prettiest of outings from Washington, but they were able to get the job done. This is a pivotal stretch over the next few games, if they're able to go 4-0 or at least 4-1, they'll gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings where several teams are separated by just a few games. They host the Clippers on Friday, a chance to get revenge after a weird ending last week on the road in Los Angeles.
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