September 20, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 5 Review: Beal’s Last Second Shot Lifts Wizards past Spurs

“Out of all my shots tonight that one felt the best. Everything was in and it felt naturally good.
As soon as I jabbed him I knew it was good.” –Bradley Beal, on the game-winning shot.

The Washington Wizards faced their toughest and deepest opponent yet in the San Antonio Spurs at Verizon Center, and did not back down in the slightest. Bradley Beal put away the Spurs in dramatic fashion on a wide open 3 to win, 102-99. The shot was made possible by a beautiful jab step move on LaMarcus Aldrige, and it continued the shooting guard’s 2015 coming out party.

The game started well, with the Wizards coming out white hot and stretching an early lead to 19-2. However, Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs rallied to take the lead at the end of the first quarter, and controlled the tempo for the majority of the next two quarters. The game was looking like the normal Spurs’ cake walk like it had been for so many years prior.

However, the Wizards had another strong finish in the fourth — as they did in their first two wins — and after trading blows in the last few minutes, Beal came up clutch. He led Washington with 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting to bring his season average to 25.3. John Wall added 17 and 13 assists, and Otto Porter put in 19 on 8-of-10 shooting. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 23 points and nine rebounds.

The three young guns for the Wizards led the sizzling fourth quarter charge, including a highlight-reel slam by Beal right past Leonard on a fast break. They finished the fourth with a 36-26 advantage and a statement win against one of the powerhouses of the West.

Coach Randy Wittman described the sequence that lead to the game-winning bucket. “They executed it the way you’re supposed to,” Wittman said. “And then you let the defense dictate what they want to do and that opens up who’s open. And John made a great decision. I think they switched twice. Leonard was on Brad to start but I think Green switched on him and it ended up being Aldridge. Brad made a nice one jab to get Aldridge to fall back and made a big shot. There were multiple options on that play and they executed it well.”

Themes of the Game

Beal More than Just a Shooter

Bradley Beal displayed his fearlessness near the rim throughout the game with a few aggressive drives in the second half. Beal was 50 percent from the field despite only hitting 3 of 8 from 3-point range. Bradley has been utilizing his full offensive game this time and has become nearly unstoppable.  If he continues to remain healthy and aggressive, we will be looking at an exceptional season for Mr. Beal.

Playoff Otto Back?

Otto Porter had his best offensive output of this young season, hitting 80 percent of his shots for 19 points. He also was tasked with guarding the Spurs’ best player, Leonard, and came out with a +/- of 12 while he was on the floor. Otto has been hyped as the “glue guy” for this team who does all the little things, and he displayed his effectiveness just like he did last year in the playoffs.

Winning the Turnover Battle

Washington forced 20 turnovers on the normally-disciplined Spurs, including seven combined steals by Wall and Beal. San Antonio’s  two big men, Tim Duncan and Aldridge, had nine turnovers and never got into a rhythm. The Wizards’ matched their fire on offense with aggression on defense, and it paid off mightily.

NEXT GAME: Wizards travel to Boston Friday night to face the Celtics at 7:30 p.m.

About Seamus Kane

Seamus Kane is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Wizards. A native of Silver Spring, MD, Seamus grew up in the area all his life rooting for the Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Caps, and Terps. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a degree in American History and now lives in Washington, DC. His favorite DC sports legend is Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, and his favorite DC sports moment was Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off in the first-ever game at Nationals Park, a game which he attended. You can follow Seamus on Twitter @ShamelessKane

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