With 10 seconds left in the game, the Washington Wizards were trailing the Brooklyn Nets 146-141.
Kyrie Irving had just knocked down a pair of free-throws as the Wizards were playing the foul game, to at least give themselves a chance. Down by that margin with so little time remaining, it's highly unlikely that teams hit the shots required to pull off a win.
But that's exactly what the D.C. franchise did.
Beal, Westbrook knock down clutch 3s
In the final 12.3 seconds, the Wizards went on an 8-0 run to record the 149-146 victory.
Their superstar duo of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal knocked down the clutch shots needed to spark the unthinkable comeback.
BEAL THREE. WIZARDS STEAL. RUSS THREE. WIZARDS LEAD. 🤯@WashWizards 147@BrooklynNets 146- NBA (@NBA) February 1, 2021
Nets ball with 4.3 left on @NBATV pic.twitter.com/sScCTrzRys
After those 3s, Beal sank a pair ot free-throws to seal the game. At the final buzzer, Beal finished with 37 points (13-23 FG, 9-9 FT) - scoring 25 or more for the 15th time this season in as many games.
While Beal extended his streak, Russell Westbrook had arguably his best game of the season so far with 41 points (16-28 FG, 4-7 3P), 10 rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. His 57.1% shooting from the field and four made 3-pointers are a season-high. He turned the ball over just three times this game - he has only one game with fewer (2).
Beal and Westbrook became the first Wizards duo since the team moved to Washington in 1974 to score 37+ points in a single game.
The Wizards comeback, from more than five down with under 10 seconds left, comes nearly 24 hours after Damian Lillard's clutch shot-making did something similar for the Portland Trail Blazers in Chicago.
Despite that unique occurence, winning in this fashion is highliy improbable. In fact, it's only the ninth such comeback from a total of 23,507 games in the last 25 seasons of the NBA.
The @WashWizards trailed by 5 tonight with less than 10 seconds left and won.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 1, 2021
In the last 25 seasons, teams are now 9-23,498 when trailing by 5+ in the final 10 seconds of the game. However, it's the 2nd straight day this type of comeback has happened (POR at CHI on Saturday). pic.twitter.com/Q7wcpKgfAy
Improbable in more ways than one
It's not just the comeback but the form and performance of both teams coming into this game, that makes the final score hard to believe.
Prior to this game, the new-look star-studded Nets were gaining momentum. They had won four straight and were coming off a 22-point win in Oklahoma City. On the other hand, the Wizards had lost four straight before this one - all by a combined margin of 73 points.
That's not all. This game, barring the final seconds, only witnessed one lead change and three ties. The Wizards looked threatening but the Nets led for nearly the entire game including by as many as 18 late in the first quarter.
Nets defence back under the spotlight
The combined 295 points (149-146) by the Nets and Wizards is the second-highest combined tally in a non-overtime game in the last 25 seasons. In this one, the Nets had five players who scored in double figures while shooting 56.8% from the field and knocking down 19 3-pointers at an efficiency of 52.8%.
🔵 @KDTrey5 gets his 9th 30+ point game this season- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 1, 2021
🔴 Joe ties a career high with 30@BeyondMeat pic.twitter.com/Fh5p1f0uOe
But Nets head coach Steve Nash was just focused on the team's defensive numbers, and maybe rightfully so.
"We gave up 149 points, 72 points in the paint, 48 points in the fourth quarter, 17 turnovers didn't help, but you know, the defense wasn't good enough and I think everyone realizes we obviously had many opportunities to win it down the stretch, but probably didn't deserve it the way we guarded all night," said Nets head coach Steve Nash.
This is now the second defeat that Brooklyn has suffered to the Wizards in as many meetings this season. And although, they were playing without James Harden, the loss doesn't help their cause.
It puts their struggling defence back under the spotlight. Here's a couple of big reasons why:
- The Wizards 149 points in this one are the most allowed by any team this season. The second total of 147 was also allowed by the Nets.
- Since the Harden trade, the Nets are dead-last in the league in defensive rating, a number that would rank last in NBA history.
"I couldn't guard a stick today," Kyrie Irving said postgame.
Both teams have a day off to digest this one. While the Wizards host the Portland Trail Blazers, the Nets host the LA Clippers.
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