WASHINGTON — With every point that Wizards star guard Bradley Beal pours in while wearing a Washington uniform, he continues to cement his status as an all-time great in the basketball history of the nation’s capital. The jumper he splashed down in the third quarter statistically moved him past one of those greats as Washington tries to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
Beal scored 29 points while center Ian Mahinmi added 12 as the Wizards broke a three-game losing streak by defeating the Detroit Pistons 106-100 in the annual home game for the Wizards on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Beal, who has played his entire career in Washington, moved past Hall of Famer West Unseld for fourth on the all-time franchise scoring list after making a long jumper with eight minutes to go in the third quarter.
“I’ve been blessed to be here for all my career, so many great legends to come through here…to be a part of history…I never would have dreamed of that,” Beal said on an on-court interview with NBC Sports Washington.
Beal’s exploits also helped the Wizards keep themselves within reasonable striking distance of one of the final spots available for the Eastern Conference playoffs, as Brooklyn’s loss to Philadelphia puts Washington only four games in back of the Nets in the loss column for the eighth seed at the moment. Washington’s win also was a victory against a team directly above them in the standings in its effort to try to pass teams ahead of them to reach the top eight.
“The seventh and eight seed, their records aren’t that great, but I’m sure somebody’s going to surprise somebody and probably jump up there,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks.
It is getting more difficult for the Pistons to possibly be that surprise team, especially with injuries to forward Blake Griffin and guards Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard keeping them out for an extended period of time. Derrick Rose led the team with 21 points while Andre Drummond had 18 points and 16 rebounds.
Drummond, however, had nine of the Pistons’ 17 turnovers, as Detroit fell short in its bid to win three games in a row for the first time this season.
“We can’t have our center having nine turnovers,” Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said. “We want him to get the ball in to Rose. He’s got to make decisions, and he’s done a good job of that, but tonight he did not. And normally, he and our bigs do a good job of catching it, kicking it out and making a play and not turning it over.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Rodney Pierce. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 29 pictures in total.