WASHINGTON — The video tribute for now Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal, upon his return to the nation’s capital for the first time as an opposing player, was expected and fitting for the player who was synonymous with the most recent stretch of sustained Wizards success. In return, Beal put up his best game in a Suns uniform, reminding the fans who came back to show their appreciation the exact reasons why he became an icon in The District.
Locked in from the very start of the game, Beal scored a season-high 43 points as Phoenix defeated the Wizards 140-112 inside Capital One Arena on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Durant, also making a homecoming given his native Maryland roots, chipped in with 18 points as the Suns have now won three of their last four games and 10 of their last 13.
The attention for today’s game clearly was squared on Beal, who played 11 seasons with the franchise before being traded in the offseason to the Suns. While his first season in Phoenix, like the last few in Washington, have been checkered by injury, his health was good enough for his return to D.C. as he wore a protective mask, a precaution after he suffered a nasal fracture on January 26 in Indiana.
Nothing about Beal’s game was incognito, as he scored 26 points in the first half; In the first quarter, he made six of his nine shots from the field, including both of his three-point attempts, while he made 4-of-5 from the field and nailed all four of his three throws in the second. All the while, the Suns were building a robust 79-58 lead at halftime, shooting a scorching 69 percent (29-for-42) from the field in the first half.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday afternoon’s event, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Clifford Ray Williams. 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 27 pictures in total.