By Lewis Gould
Bradley Beal scored 33 points and the Wiz rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 119-117.
Russell Westbrook had 27 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds while Moe Wagner added 12 points as the Wizards snapped a two-game skid. Washington won eight of 11 heading into the All-Star break to move into the fringes of contention in the bunched Eastern Conference.
Beal, an All-Star and the NBA’s leading scorer, was 9 of 23 from the field but made 14 of his 15 free throws.
Westbrook, who is shooting a career-worst 60% from the foul line, missed a few late to keep the Clippers in the game until the end. He made 7 of 15 overall.
“I still trust him,” coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s working on it. We’re going to get it back. He does so many great things for us.”
Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points, Patrick Beverley had 17 and Ivica Zubac had 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Clippers have lost six of nine heading into the break but are still one of the top teams in the West.
All Star Paul George was a late Clip scratch due to dizziness. Reggie Jackson, who started on Tuesday in Boston for Leonard, finished with 12 points.
It was the second consecutive game in which the Clippers had a late scratch from an All-Star. Leonard sat out Tuesday’s loss in Boston with back spasms.
George, who scored 32 points in 28 minutes on Tuesday, has missed ten previous games this season, including one for right ankle soreness, two for health and safety protocols, and seven for right toe bone edema.
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he found about George right before the game.
Lue felt the turning point was on both sides of halftime as the Clippers went from leading 61-45 with 1:28 left in the second quarter to trailing 66-63 with 8:14 remaining in the third.
“Closing the second quarter was the biggest thing,” Lue said about a game that featured 19 lead changes and nine ties.
The Clippers led 106-102 after two free throws by Lou Williams with 4:36 left. Davis Bertans and Wagner made back-to-back 3-pointers, Beal made a foul-line jumper and Bertans added two free throws during a 11-0 run that gave Washington a 113-106 lead. Bertans finished with 11 points.