Beal, Westbrook lead Wizards past Jazz, Knicks foil Magic
LOS ANGELES – Bradley Beal scored 43 points and Russell Westbrook produced a 35-point triple-double as the Washington Wizards knocked off the NBA-leading Utah Jazz 131-122 on Thursday.
The Wizards notched their first win of the second half of the season, snapping a five-game skid with a convincing performance against the Western Conference high-flyers.
Washington seized control early, building a 24-point lead in the first half and withstanding a 42-point performance by Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.
Aussie guard Joe Ingles added 34 points and Rudy Gobert added 10 points with 13 rebounds for Utah, but the Jazz couldn’t engineer a comeback.
“We knew this was a tough team coming in, number one team in the league right now,” said Beal, who said defense was the key to victory a night after the Wizards fell 121-119 to the Sacramento Kings on De’Aaron Fox’s late game-winner.
“We didn’t have a choice but to guard or we were going to go down by 30,” added Beal, who saw his streak of 11 straight 40-point games in which his team had lost finally come to an end.
“It was imperative that we left last night where it was and we came back with a different mindset that we were going to guard, and we did it for 48 minutes.”
Westbrook came out with a sense of urgency, scoring 13 points in the first quarter.
Along with 35 points he added 15 rebounds and 13 assists.
Mitchell, limited to one basket on three attempts in the first quarter, gradually heated up.
But he said the Jazz just haven’t been maintaining their focus as they did during their 11-game winning streak in January.
“Focus — not sure we’ve had it the last few games,” he said. “We’ve just got to step up. We’ve got to communicate, keep the ball in front of us and without that we’re going to have nights like this.”
Julius Randle’s third triple-double of the season fueled the New York Knicks in a 94-93 victory over the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden.
Randle scored 18 points with 10 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists.
His fadeaway jump shot with 2:38 remaining put New York up by five, but the Magic went on a 6-2 scoring run to set up a tense finish.
Orlando missed two chances to take the lead in the final 45 seconds and New York’s Reggie Bullock — who had turned the ball over with 22 seconds left and the Knicks up by one — came up with a huge steal on Orlando’s final possession.
“My mindset was I knew I just turned it over, I knew I had to be able to make a play back on the ball,” said Bullock, who scored 20 points off the bench. “I just knew I had to step up on the defensive end and try to get a stop.
The Knicks, missing Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley and Elfrid Payton, got 21 points from Alec Burks, 17 from RJ Barrett and 13 from Frank Ntilikina.
Evan Fournier led the Magic with 23 points, but was picked off by Bullock with 5.9 seconds remaining as the Knicks escaped with the win.
In Atlanta, Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 23 points apiece to power the Hawks to a seventh straight victory, 116-93 over the Oklahoma City Thunder.