Beal helps Wizards cast spell on defensively-suspect Clippers

Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal is fouled by Los Angeles Clippers' Austin Rivers while attempting to dribble past him. The Washington guard had his second 40-point game of the season in his team's 117-110 victory.
Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal is fouled by Los Angeles Clippers' Austin Rivers while attempting to dribble past him. The Washington guard had his second 40-point game of the season in his team's 117-110 victory.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Bradley Beal scored 41 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 117-110 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory on Sunday over a Los Angeles Clippers team suddenly struggling on the defensive end.

Beal's second 40-point game of the season also included six three-pointers.

Markieff Morris scored 23 points and John Wall added 18 points and 11 assists for Washington, whose third straight victory is their longest streak of the season.

The Wizards made 12 of 15 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter, and finished 53.1 per cent from the field.

They made 10 of their 19 three-point attempts as they erased an 11-point second-half deficit.

"That's terrible," Clippers star Chris Paul said of a defensive effort that saw Los Angeles unable to hang on to a 102-95 fourth-quarter lead.

"We have to figure it out. They were just too comfortable tonight," the point guard added.

The Wizards have now won five of their last six games.

For the Clippers, it was a disappointing end to a three-game road trip that started with two victories.

Blake Griffin had 26 points for Los Angeles but none in the fourth quarter.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was ejected after picking up two technical fouls with 1min 8sec remaining - moments after Morris hit back-to-back jumpers.

Rivers said he did not think his questioning of a foul call on Paul warranted a technical.

"At some point, my job is to ask a question," he said.

"You shouldn't get a technical for that."

But the coach admitted that his side's defence in the second half did not justify a win.

"I thought they were far more physical than us in the second half," Rivers said of the Wizards.

"I thought we attacked them in the first half. I thought we attacked them at the beginning of the third, but once they smelled blood in the water, I thought they were on the attack. I thought we played on our heels, both ends."

The Wizards certainly took advantage, especially Beal, who is enjoying a break-out season and came into the contest averaging 22 points per game.

"My game is still not where I want it to be," he said.

"It's developing for sure. I'm definitely a lot more confident in my game, but I'm my biggest critic. I always want to get better."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline 'Beal helps Wizards cast spell on defensively-suspect Clippers'. Print Edition | Subscribe